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Random Observations by Pat Ostrye

The Stars and Stripes, Forever!

    Since today is the Fourth of July, I'm presenting one of the many essays out there concerning the Flag.  Some of you may have heard this from me at one patriotic gathering or another over the past few years, but I think it bears repeating once in awhile.  It was written by one of the most famous of all writers, Anonymous.

      I am the only Flag of the United States of America. . .  I was conceived in the dreams of Liberty and in the hopes of Freedom. . .  I was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1777, and proclaimed the National emblem of a Nation newly born on this great 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 in many places and seen many things. . . I was there, at Concord when they fired the shot "heard 'round the world".  I was there in the late twilight at Fort McHenry and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the immortal "Star Spangled Banner", our National Anthem. . .

      I was with Molly Pitcher at the Battle of Monmouth, and saw her take the cannon cleaning staff from the hands of her husband and help carry on the fight for freedom.  I felt snow and the biting cold at Valley Forge, and gave warmth and comfort to General George Washington and his tired and hungry men of the Continental Army. . .

      I rode with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys.  I saw the signal in Boston's Old North Church 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 "China" Clippers.  I blazed the westward trail with Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett.  I led the settlers going west and crossed Death Valley in a covered wagon. . .

      I was carried through the Halls of Montezuma and to the Shores of Tripoli.  I once 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 Colonel Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders.  I stayed with the boys until it was over "Over There" - - on the Battlefields of the Marne, Chateau Thierry and The Argonne Forest.  I was raised by five brave Marines and Sailors during the Hell of Iwo Jima.

      I've seen many of the youth and men of our nation fall and lie still in death.  They had given their last full measure of blood and devotion. . .  The wars for them are over forever, but I keep my lonely vigil over their graves! 

      I have soared to great heights on the wings of our Air Force, and I have the distinction of being the only National Flag to have been placed by man on the surface of the moon.

      I have not changed much over the years.  I still have my original thirteen stripes and as each state came into the Union, a new star was proudly added to the constellation of my blue field.  I started with thirteen stars and now there are fifty.

      I am The Star Spangled Banner, Old Glory, and the Stars and Stripes Forever. . . a symbol of the land, the people, the government and the ideals of  The United States of America. . .! 

postrye@netzero.com

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