...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

June 14, 2006

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Hear Johnny Cash reading this poem in in his inimitable voice here. It was a hit record in 1974.

Ragged Old Flag

I walked through a county courthouse square,
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, "Your old courthouse is kinda run down."
He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town."
I said, "Your flagpole has leaned a little bit,
And that's a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it."

He said, "Have a seat", and I sat down.
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town?"
I said, "I think it is." He said, "I don't like to brag,
But we're kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag.

"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing 'Oh Say Can You See.'
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seams.


"And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on though.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville,
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag.

"On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II.
She hung limp and low a time or two.
She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.

"She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they've about quit waving her back here at home.
In her own good land she's been abused--
She's been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused.

"And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land.
And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she's in good shape for the shape she's in.
'Cause she's been through the fire before,
And I believe she can take a whole lot more.

"So we raise her up every morning,
We take her down every night.
We don't let her touch the ground,
And we fold her up right.
On second thought I do like to brag,
'Cause I'm mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag."

Happy Flag Day!

Posted by annika, Jun. 14, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Poetry


Fabulous, and one of my favorites. Nice job with the EGA too. That's the officer's variant you know.

Posted by: Casca on Jun. 14, 2006


Got to see the President's Own at the baseball game tonight. Always lots of fun to watch them.

Posted by: Victor on Jun. 14, 2006

Victor, if you like that, get tickets to the Sunset Parade at 8th & I. It's every Friday evening through labor day. There's no charge, but limited seating.

Posted by: Casca on Jun. 14, 2006

It's also the 231st birthday of the US Army.

Posted by: Col Steve on Jun. 15, 2006

Just recognized that flag: It's theStar-Spangled Banner! Took me a bit to recognize it--I feel shame.

Posted by: Victor on Jun. 15, 2006

That line about the Alamo has always bothered me because it just isn't true: the Star-Spangled banner was nowhere near San Antonio in 1836. Maybe he implies it was there in spirit, but I doubt that, too.

Popular myth has it that the republican Mexican tricolor with an "1824" in place of the coat of arms flew over the Alamo on that fateful day, as many Texians were fighting for their rights under the 1824 Mexican constitution, and independence was their last resort.

The only flag we actually know to have flown in the Alamo was that of the New Orleans Grays volunteers, a blue field with the words "First Company of Texan Volunteers From New Orleans: God & Liberty" -- a unit flag. Santa Ana sent it back to Mexico (where it remains to this day) as proof that the imperialist yanquis were backing the seditious Texians.

Posted by: JohnL on Jun. 15, 2006