THAT RAGGED OLD FLAG

By John R. Cash, 1974 House of Cash, Inc.

9/12/03-Goodbye Johnny, We Loved You!

I walked through a county courthouse square,

On a park bench an old man was sitting there.

I said, Your old courthouse is kinda run down.

He said, Naw, it'll do for our little town.

I said, Your flagpole has leaned a little bit,

And that's a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it.

He said, Have a seat, and I sat down.

Is this the first time you've been to our little town?

I said, I think it is. He said, I don't like to brag,

But we're kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag.

You see, we got a little hole in that flag there

When Washington took it across the Delaware.

And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key

Sat watching it writing "Oh Say Can You See".

And it got a bad rip in New Orleans

With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seams.

And it almost fell at the Alamo

Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on through.

She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville

And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.

There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,

And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag.

On Flanders Field in World War I

She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.

She turned blood red in World War II

She hung limp and low by the time it was through.

She was in Korea and Vietnam.

She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.

She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,

And now, they've about quit waving her back here at home.

In her own good land she's been abused

She's been burned, dishonored, denied and refused.

And the government for which she stands

Is scandalized throughout the land.

And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin,

But she's in good shape for the shape she's in.

'Cause she's been through the fire before

And I believe she can take a whole lot more.

So we raise her up every morning,

Take her down every night.

We don't let her touch the ground

And we fold her up right.

On second thought I DO like to brag,

'Cause I'm mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag.

Written by Johnny Cash

P.S. This is the only poem ever written by Johnny Cash that was not intended to be sung. He has performed this a number of times at the Pops Goes the Fourth concerts in Boston on the 4th of July. His book Man In Black he reveals the inspiration behind it.

Click the link to hear Johnny Cash reciting:  "That Ragged Old Flag"

"Ragged Old Flag"

           By John R. Cash,           

1974 House of Cash, Inc.


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