Stephen R. Henninger

THE OLD TATTERED FLAG

The flag was once new and flying proudly
The colors were bright and always rightly
The union was bluer than the blue sky above
And the 50 stars were shining as bright as a dove
The red and white stripes were laid out horizontal
Their design and number were not coincidental
Seven red and six white for a total of thirteen
To recognizes the original colonies not to go unseen
The battles it endured were many, some short, some long
But the results ended the same for the right and the wrong
The dead and the wounded, too many to count
Came faster and faster, no chance for a recount
The Flag colors faded and tattered on the ends
As it flew through the fight it was our best friend
It gave us courage and meaning to see her fly
In light of all the soldiers lying around us that died
The Flag has a meaning to everyone who sees her
Some are different than others but we all can concur
That regardless of how worn and tattered she is
She will always fly as she originally did
The flag was once new and flying proudly

Author’s Note: As I was sitting in my office today, looking out my windows and looking at the company flag pole, I was watching the US flag fly so proudly (it was very windy) and I started to think about some movies that I had seen that had a segment in it that focused on the American Flag such as “THE PATRIOT” and “WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE… AND YOUNG”, both starring Mel Gibson.

The flag segment in “The Patriot” was at the end of the movie when they were in their final battle in the American Revolution against the British and everyone was retreating and the flag guard was shot and fell, Mel Gibson picked up the flag and began to wave it and yell to urge his men to go forward and not retreat.

The flag segment in “We were soldiers once… and young” (Vietnam War) was again at the end of the battle at Ia Drang when the Americans left a little flag on top of a wooden post after they left and the North Vietnamese commander was standing there looking at it and shaking his head and could not believe their resolve.

These thoughts inspired me to write this poem.

As I say in the poem the Flag has many different meanings to everyone who sees her. It doesn’t matter what flag it is but it holds a special meaning.