I Am "Old Glory"

I am the flag of the United States of America. I was conceived in the dreams of liberty and the hopes for freedom. I was adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, and proclaimed the National emblem of a nation newly born on this continent, fighting valiantly for survival, and destined to bring to all mankind a new concept of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I have been many places and witnessed many events in American history. I saw the signal that started the midnight ride of Paul Revere. I was there when they fired the shot heard 'round the world and when General Washington became Commander-in-Chief. I was at Fort McHenry in the dawn's early light and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the immortal "Star Spangled Banner," now America's National anthem. I blazed the trail West with Lewis and Clark. I galloped up the slopes of San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders.

I was with American troops on battlefields of the Marne and the Argonne Forest during both World Wars and stayed with them until it was over, over there. I saw many of the men and boys of this Nation fall and lie still in death. They had given their last full measure of devotion. The war was over for them forever, but I have kept my lonely vigil over their graves and stayed to watch the poppies grow amid the crosses, row on row, in Flanders Field.

I constantly fly above the Arizona Memorial in solemn remembrance of the 2388 Americans killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor. 1177 of them were shipmates on the battleship Arizona and approximately 1100 of them remain entombed therein. When Jimmy Doolittle and his courageous airmen retaliated by bombing Tokyo, I witnessed a strong surge in America's morale.

I was raised by five brave men during the hell of Iwo Jima. I waved farewell to the four immortal Chaplains who gave their life jackets to those with none. The Chaplains then joined hands and went down with their ship to honored glory.

I heard former Senator Bob Dole make this elequent statement: "I've seen American soldiers bring hope and leave graves in every corner of the world. I've seen this Nation overcome depression and segregation and communism, turning back mortal threats to human freedom." As your flag, I have gone with millions of americans who were sent halfway around the world in both directions - not to conquer, not to terrorize, but to liberate.

For these events, this Nation has paid dearly. Throughout its brief history, when danger has threatened, millions of Americans have left their homes and families to defend me and the Nation for which I stand, some never to return. Yet they are here, embraced forever within my folds, for their purity is remembered in my stripes of white; their blood has given me stripes of red; their souls are cradled in my stars; and their courage embedded in my blue.

I am many things to many people. I am an inseparable link in the chain that binds men and women to God and Country. I am called the "Red, White and Blue," the "Star Spangled Banner," and "The Stars and Stripes." But, I am most commonly known by a nickname given me by a sea captain who called me "Old Glory."

Men and women from nations around the world are still striving to reach shores, to touch and stand beside me:
A symbol of Liberty;
A standard of justice;
A light of humanity;
An emblem of man's faith;
A beacon shining into the darkness;
And here I will always be, for I am the Stars and Stripes, Forever.

I am "Old Glory!"

(from National Sojourners, Inc. booklet, "Building the Flag")

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