On the American Flag


“Works which endure come from the soul of the people. The mighty in their pride walk alone to destruction. The humble walk hand in hand with Providence to immortality. Their works survive. When the people of the Colonies were defending their liberties against the might of kings, they chose their banner from the design set in the firmament through all eternity. The flags of the great empires of that day are gone, but the Stars and Stripes remain. It pictures the vision of a people whose eyes were turned to the rising dawn. It represents the hope of a father for his posterity. It was never flaunted for the glory of royalty, but to be born under it is to be child of a king, and to establish a home under it is to be the founder of a royal house. Alone of all flags it expresses the sovereignty of the people which endures when all else passes away. Speaking with their voice it has the sanctity of revelation. He who lives under it and is loyal to it is loyal to truth and justice everywhere. He who lives under it and is disloyal to it is a traitor to the human race everywhere. What could be saved if the flag of the American Nation were to perish?

“In recognition of these truths and out of a desire born of a purpose to defend and perpetuate them, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has by ordinance decreed that for one day of each year their importance should be dwelt upon and remembered. Therefore, in accordance with that authority, the anniversary of the adoption of the national flag, the 14th day of June next, is set apart as

           FLAG DAY

and it is earnestly recommended that it be observed by the people of the Commonwealth by the display of the flag of our country and in all ways that may testify to their loyalty and perpetuate its glory” — Governor Calvin Coolidge, Proclamation, May 26, 1919

While we do not quite agree with Mr. Coolidge that America’s voice speaks with the sanctity of revelation, especially this year, it is evident that he loved America. He knew the nation had its problems and the people were not infallible. He knew no nation was but America was still forged of something special and distinctive. The people would always pay for those mistakes they chose but at least they, not kings and bureaucrats, should retain the freedom of will and unfettered conscience to make them. America’s moral sense of herself, her goodness, her courage, and her principles furnished abundant reason all his life to be proud of her and faithful in the service of her ideals. We underestimate his importance and discount his perspicacity at our peril.

CC with flag at Massasoit home


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