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Old Glory’s Birthday

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An article in the June 20, 1918, issue of the Powell Leader proclaims:

I have a small boy and the other day I made him a “boat,” with a sail that he can raise and lower, and at the top of the mast I tacked a “flag,” which is a piece of old canvas. It flaps in the breeze like any flag, but it does not mean a thing!

I can look out of my window and see that “flag” fluttering and not feel the slightest emotion of any sort. I made it. I know it is nothing but a piece of old canvas, ripped from a larger piece and nailed there. Some day, but God forefend any such day, that “flag” might have a meaning for me. 

I might look out of my window and see it fluttering there and know my boy would never again look up at it in his play, and the sight of the poor rag might fill my heart with agony. 

If any neighbor then came into my yard and laid rough hands on that flag and tore it down and trampled on it, I think I would kill him. The poor rag would be sacred because of the memories that clung to it.

It is because it means so much, is the symbol of so much, that our nation’s flag is so sacred that the man who defiles it, deserves to be shot down in the act.

A flag is a symbol, a sign, as the cross is a symbol and as the triangle is a symbol. The bunting and the silk of our flag are nothing, not until they are assembled in the stars and stripes of our flag and thrown to the breeze as the symbol of our loyalty and patriotism, do they demand our reverence.

We honor the flag because of what it stands for. Those who dishonor our flag dishonor all it stands for. 

In days like these, when our nation is at war, there might be placed under the dome of the Capitol at Washington a great book of a thousand pages. On the front page might be inscribed the American’s creed, proclaiming a belief in national honor, national justice and national honesty and a belief in a free government for this free American people.

To Washington then might be called all the people of the nation, to sign, one after another, their names in the great book so all America and all the world might know how each man and woman and child stood, until all our millions are enrolled. 

There is no need of this. 

The American’s creed is written in the stars and stripes of our flag. Our flag stands for all that could be written in the great book at Washington. 

It stands for honor, justice, national honesty and a free government, and when the time of stress comes, as at present, the flag is at hand, ready to be raised in twenty million homes, a proclamation of loyalty as valid as a signed and sealed book. 

Our flag is not a gaily colored decoration to brighten our towns and villages. It is a creed, and I believe to tell our neighbor, our nation and the whole world how we stand.

It is remarkable to what an extent flags, even to the simplest, tell the national stories. 

Today, this Flag Day, our American flag, will float from the staffs of a million American homes, perhaps from 10 million or 20 million. 

No longer the flag of a group of colonies, Old Glory has become the banner of a world power, the emblem of the mightiest free people that existed.

Never were the stripes of our flag brighter or the stars more brilliant on their field of blue than they are today. In field, in mine, in factory, in home, in garden, in camp, on ship, in trench and in battle line the men, women and children of our vast, free empire are united in one great cause, and the free flag of a free people floats over them, unstained and unspotted.

For those wishing to read the entire article go to “Wyoming newspaper project” and call up the June 20, 1918 Powell Leader, then go to page five.

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