Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Ragged Old Flag

Veterans Day makes me think of these two old guys, Ray and Gus, who used to go to all the Eagle scout ceremony's that I was ever at. They would give out a flag to all the new Eagle scouts and recite The Ragged Old Flag. I knew better then to smile ironically at anything at a Eagle ceremony, but it was pretty cornball.

It grew on me though. They never missed a ceremony! When my own son went to design his Eagle ceremony he said "yeah, I'm not sure what I want but I want those two old dudes doing the flag poem".

Ray and Gus kept getting older and more feeble. Ray was the extrovert and he would get up and make little jokes and recite the poem and Gus would stand there holding the flag. They did a wonderful handshake and always wore suits. Finally Gus started showing up alone. He gave reports about Ray who had had a stroke, but we never saw him again. Gus didn't have Ray's glibness and when Gus recited the poem it had a seriousness and sadness it hadn't had before. Gus wanted those boys to know that patriotism was a serious business.

And somehow it was.


Anonymous said...

Oh wow, I just found out that The Ragged Old Flag was written by Johnny Cash. That is good; my own upbringing did not include it. I am curious to know your son's thoughts on it and whether it inspired any learning about history.

Thanks, as always!

Anonymous said...

I have recited "The Ragged Old Flag" at Boy Scout functions in the past. No one ever thought it "corny". My son's Eagle Scout Court of Honor will be held December 29th, 2007. After he is presented with a flag symbolizing the one flown that day in his honor at the U.S. Capitol, I will recite it again.