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Flag tidbits

How about some literary quotes referencing the American flag. Consider them a peek through the keyhole of American history. Good for parties too—when someone quotes from The Princess Bride, you can top them with John Stark.

From John Stark 1728-1822

My men, yonder are the Hessians. They were bought for seven pounds and ten pence a man. Are you worth more? Prove it. Tonight the American flags floats from yonder hill or Molly Stark sleeps a widow.

… before the Battle of Bennington, August 16, 1777

From Charles Sumner 1811-1874

There is the National flag. He must be cold indeed, who can look upon its fold rippling in the breeze without pride of country. If in a foreign land, the flag is companionship, and country itself, with all its endearments.

Are We a Nation [November 19, 1867]


William Tyler Page 1868-1942

I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; A democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many overeign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its Flag; and to defend it against all enemies.

The American’s Creed

Oliver Wendell Holmes 1809-1894

U.S.S. Constitution

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon’s roar—
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more

from the poem Old Ironsides [1830] st.1
(This poem created such national sentiment that is is generally credited with saving the frigate, U.S.S. Constitution, from being destroyed as unfit for further service.)

John Greenleaf Whittier 1807-1892

“Shoot if you must, this old gray head
But spare your country’s flag,” she said.

from the poem Barbara Frietchie

Henry Cuyler Brunner 1855-1896

Off with your hat as the flag goes by!

Airs from Arcady [1888] The Old Flag st.1

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