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means all that the Declaration of Independence meant; it means all that the Constitution of our people, organizing for justice, for Liberty, and for happiness, meant. Our flag carries American ideas, American history and American feelings. Beginning with the Colonies, and coming down to our time, in its sacred heraldry, in its glorious insignia, it has gathered and stored chiefly this supreme idea: Divine right of liberty in man. Every color means liberty; every thread means liberty; every form of star and beam or stripe of light means liberty; not lawlessness, not license; but organized, institutional liberty-liberty through law, and laws for liberty!
This American flag was the safeguard of liberty. Not an atom of crown was allowed to go into its insignia. Not a symbol of authority in the ruler was permitted to go into it. It was an ordinance of liberty by the people for the people. That it meant, that it means, and, by the blessing of God, that it shall mean to the end of time!
-From a Sermon Delivered in Boston in 1861.
Crosses of St. Andrew and St. George: on the flag of Great Britain the former represents Scotland; the latter, superimposed, England.
Questions for Study
1. What is added to the flag by thoughts of its origin, of the statesmen who devised it, and of the contests, both civil and martial, that have consecrated it? How much do you know without further study of each man and of each incident spoken of?
2. What do these pages make you see in the flag? How do they make you feel when you see them?
3. What meanings has the word liberty? Which one was most prominent in Beecher's mind in 1861? Which one is most important today? Does the flag symbolize them all ?
THE AMERICAN FLAG
JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE
When Freedom from her mountain height
Unfurled her standard to the air,
And set the stars of glory there.
Majestic monarch of the cloud,
Who rear'st aloft thy regal form,
When strive the warriors of the storm,
Child of the sun! to thee 'tis given
To guard the banner of the free,
The harbingers of victory!
Flag of the brave! thy folds shall fly,
And cowering foes shall shrink beneath Each gallant arm that strikes below
That lovely messenger of death.
Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail,
Flag of the free heart's hope and home!
By angel hands to valor given;
And all thy hues were born in heaven.
Where breathes the foe but falls before us,
Baldric: a broad, richly ornamented belt; the reference here is to the starry "Milky Way" in the heavens.
Bellied sail: sail filled with the wind.
Questions for Study 1. Tell in a simple way what Drake says about the American flag. Why do you think he uses such language in stating each point? Try to decide what his manner of statement adds to the fact.
2. Judging merely from this poem, what sort of man do you think Drake was ?
MAKERS OF THE FLAG
FRAKLIN K. LANE
This morning, as I passed into the Land Office, The Flag dropped me a most cordial salutation, and from its rippling folds I heard it say: “Good morning, Mr. Flag Maker."
“I beg your pardon, Old Glory," I said, "aren't you mistaken? I am not the President of the United States, nor a member of Congress, nor even a general in the army. I am only a Government clerk."
"I greet you again, Mr. Flag Maker,” replied the gay voice, “I know you well. You are the man who worked in the swelter of yesterday straightening out the tangle of that farmer's homestead in Idaho, or perhaps you found the mistake in that Indian contract in Oklahoma, or helped to clear that patent for the hopeful inventor in New York, or pushed the opening of that new ditch in Colorado, or made that mine in Illinois more safe, or brought relief to the old soldier in Wyoming. No matter; whichever one of these beneficent individuals you may happen to be, I give you greeting, Mr. Flag Maker.”
I was about to pass on, when The Flag stopped me with these words: