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God Bless America

"That Ragged Old Flag" written by Johnny Cash


Revised - 2003


I walked through a county courthouse square. On a park bench, an old man was sitting there. I said, "Your county courthouse looks kind of run-down." He said, "Nah, it'll do for our little town." I said, "Your old flagpole's leaned a little bit, And that's a ragged old flag you've 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 believe it is." He said, "I don't like to brag, But we're kind of proud of that ragged old flag. You see, we've got a little hole in that flag there from when Washington took it across the Delaware. And it got powder burns the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it, writing, "Oh Say Can You See." And it got a bad rip down in New Orleans with Packingham and Jackson tugging at its seams. She almost fell at the Alamo, next to 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 were Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg, and the south winds 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's hung limp and low a time or two. She was in Korea and Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, and she's went wherever she was sent by her Uncle Sam.

She waved from our ships upon the briny foam, but 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 lands. She's looking 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 and bring 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."

Original words written by John R. (Johnny) Cash, © 1974 House of Cash, Inc.

As a schoolboy, one of Brother Red Skelton's teachers explained the words and meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to his class. Skelton later wrote down, and eventually recorded, his recollection of this lecture. It is followed by an observation of his own.

I ~ ~ Me; an individual; a committee of one.

Pledge ~ ~ Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

Allegiance ~ ~ My love and my devotion.

To the Flag ~ ~ Our standard; Old Glory; a symbol of Freedom; wherever she waves there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts, Freedom is everybody's job.

United ~ ~ That means that we have all come together.

States ~ ~ Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.

And to the Republic ~ ~ Republic -- a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people; and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

For which it stands

One Nation ~ ~ One Nation -- meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible ~ ~ Incapable of being divided.

With Liberty ~ ~ Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one's own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice ~ ~ The principle, or qualities, of dealing fairly with others.

For All ~ ~ For All -- which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God.

Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools, too?

. . . Brother Red Skelton, 33° . . .
The Noble

Brother Red Skelton was born on July 18, 1913, in Vincennes, Indiana and passed away on September 24, 1997. Bro. Skelton was raised a Master Mason in Vincennes Lodge No. 1 in Vincennes, Indiana on September 20, 1939, and became a Scottish Rite Mason in the Valley of Evansville where he received the 33rd degree.

Aside from his membership in Vincennes Lodge No. 1, he held membership in both the Scottish and York Rite Bodies. He was the recipient of the General Grand Chapter’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Service in the Arts and Sciences. On September 24, 1969, he was coroneted an Inspector General Honorary Thirty-third Degree in Boston, Massachusetts, by the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite.

Also, he joined the Al Malaikah Shrine Temple on May 16, 1941 in Los Angeles, California, and he received the Grand Lodge Award of Gold from the Grand Lodge of Indiana in 1993.

My Name
is Old
I am the flag of the United States of America . . . My name is Old Glory.
I fly atop the world's tallest buildings.
 I stand watch in America's halls of justice.
I fly majestically over great institutes of learning.
I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world.
Look up! And see me!
I stand for peace, honor, truth, and justice . . .
I stand for freedom . . . I am confident . . . I am arrogant . . . I am proud.
When I am flown with my fellow banners . . . My head is a little higher . . .
My colors a little truer. I bow to no one.
I am recognized all over the world.
I am worshipped . . . I am saluted . . . I am respected. . .
I am revered . . . I am loved . . . And I am feared.
I have fought every battle of every war for more than 200 years . . .
Gettysburg, Shiloh, Appomattox, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France,
the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome, the beaches of Normandy,
the deserts of Africa, the cane fields of the Philippines, the rice paddies and jungles of Guam,
Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Guadalcanal New Britain, Peleliu, and many more islands.
And a score of places long forgotten by all but those who were with me.
I was there.
I led my soldiers . . . I followed them . . . I watched over them . . . They loved me.
I was on a small hill in Iwo Jima.
I was dirty, battle-worn and tired, but my soldiers cheered me, and I was proud.
I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries I have helped set free.
It does not hurt, for I am invincible.
I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of my country, and when it is by those
with whom I have served in battle - it hurts. But I shall overcome - for I am strong.
I have slipped the bonds of Earth and stand watch over the uncharted new frontiers of space from
my vantage point on the moon. I have been a silent witness to all of America's finest hours.
But my finest hour comes when I am torn into strips to be used for bandages for my wounded
comrades on the field of battle . . . When I fly at half mast to honor my soldiers . . . And when I lie in
the trembling arms of a grieving mother at the graveside of her fallen son.
I am proud.
My name is Old Glory.
Dear God - Long may I wave.
By Howard Schnauber (Copyright © 1994 All Rights Reserved)
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