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The Old Flag.

April 30, 2010


The First Centennial Celebration of Evacuation Day was held on Monday, Nov. 26th, 1883, the actual day falling on a Sunday.

—H. C. Bunner.

OFF with your hat as the flag goes by!
And let the heart have its say:
You’re man enough for a tear in your eye
That you will not wipe away.
You’re man enough for a thrill that goes
To your very finger tips—
Ay! the lump just then in your throat that rose,
Spoke more than your parted lips.
Lift up your boy on your shoulder high,
And show him the faded shred—
Those stripes would be red as the sunset sky
If death could have dyed them red.
The man that bore it with Death has lain
This twenty years and more;—
He died that the work should not be vain
Of the men who bore it before.
The man that bears it is bent and old,
And ragged his beard and gray—
But look at his eye fire young and bold,
At the tune that he hears them play.
The old tune thunders through all the air,
And strikes right in to the heart;—
If ever it calls for you, boy, be there!
Be there, and ready to start.
Off with your hat as the flag goes by!
Uncover the youngster’s head;
Teach him to hold it holy and high
For the sake of its sacred dead.
—Evacuation Day, 1883.



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