I was conceived in the dreams
of liberty and in the hopes of freedom. I was designed by the hands
of Betsy Ross, and her sewing basket was my cradle. Though I was
never an orphan, I was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1777 and
proclaimed the National Emblem of a Nation newly born on the 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
have seen many things. I have witnessed every event of American history.
I was there when they fired the shot heard around the world. I was
there in the late twilight at Fort McHenry and inspired Francis Scott Key
to write the immortal "Star Spangled Banner," now our National Anthem.
I saw Molly Pitcher take the
cannon swab from the hands of her dead husband and help carry on the fight
for freedom. I felt the biting cold at Valley Forge, and gave warmth
and comfort to General Washington and his tired and hungry Continental
I rode with Ethan Allen and
the Green Mouton Boys. I saw the signal that started the midnight
ride of Paul Revere.
I was flown above the decks
of Old Ironsides, and from the masts of the Yankee and the China Clippers.
I blazed the trail with Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. I led the
settlers coming west and crossed Death Valley in a covered wagon.
I was carried through the Halls
of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli by the United States Marines.
Once I fell to the ground at Custer's Last Stand and there were no living
hands left to pick me up. I galloped up the slopes of San Juan Hill
with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders of the United States Cavalry.
I stayed with the boys until it was over, over there, and on the battle
fields of the Marne, Chateau-Thierry, St. Mihiel, and the Argonne Forest.
I saw many of the youths and manhood of our Nation fall and lie still in
death. They had given their last full measure of devotion.
The war was over for them forever, and I kept my lonely vigil over their
graves and stayed to watch the poppies grow amid the crosses, row on row,
in Flanders Fields. I was raised by five brave men during the "Hell"
of Iwo Jima. I waved farewell to the four immortal chaplains who
went down with their ship and to honored glory. (I flew with our
Nation's heroes during the Berlin Airlift. I felt the sting of battle
in Korea, in Vietnam, and Desert Storm. I flew faster than the speed
of sound with Chuck Yeager. I walked on the moon with Neil Armstrong
and "Buzz" Aldrin where I remain as a beacon for peace and freedom for
I am many things to many people.
I am an inseparable link in the chain that binds men to God and country;
each link welded in the fires of Purity by the Sacred Hands of God, Himself.
And because I am on the side of God, the godless would destroy me; but
they dare not, because I am protected by the mighty land armies of
the Nation, the powerful and deadly fleet of the Navy and the screaming
eagles of the Air Force, watching and waiting to swoop down and destroy
anything that would harm me.
To some I am yesterday, today,
and tomorrow; to others I am a glorious child, to some a grand old man
or a most gracious lady. I have several names. I am called
the "Red, White, and Blue,""The Star-Spangled Banner,""The Stars and Stripes;"but
I am most commonly known by a nickname given me by and old sea captain,
who called me "Old Glory."
I have not changed much in
my 185 years. I still have my original 13 stripes, but as each new
state came into the Union an new star was proudly added to the constellation
of my blue field. It started with 13 stars; now, there are 50.
Many more things I would like
to tell you, but we haven't the time; but, I do want to see you again.
I am easy to find. I am everywhere. I am in the homes of the
poor, in the mansions of the rich, in Independence Hall with the Declaration
of Independence and the Liberty Bell. I am in the White House with
the president. I am in all the churches, cathedrals, and synagogues,
in the Council of the Boy and Girl Scouts of America, in all the schools
where they pledge allegiance to me.
I drape the caskets of our
Nation's heroes, borne to their last resting place; the caskets of presidents,
generals, admirals, humble privates, and the Unknown Soldier. Wherever
free men gather; wherever there is justice, equality, faith, hope, charity,
truth, or brotherly love; there, too, am I.
May history NEVER write my
obituary, for I am the Stars and Stripes FOREVER.
I AM OLD GLORY. "
*Updated in parentheses by
Chester J. Vaughn (1997)