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The Old Soldier and the Flag

Posted by on July 3, 2016

When I was growing up the 4th of July was a special day in my hometown beginning with a parade around the court house square. They still have that parade and it’s known for being one of the longest held parades in the country surviving for well over 100 years.
Veterans were at the head of the parade as honor guards, carrying the flag. One soldier stood out in my memory. He was still able to wear his WWII uniform and wore it proudly as he led the parade for over 50 years. When I was small I didn’t realize what these soldiers had gone through, their sacrifice and the gift of freedom they had given us. I wrote this poem in memory of them and all the veterans as we celebrate our country’s birthday and freedom.

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THE OLD SOLDIER AND THE FLAG

His uniform was a little frayed and the brass had lost its shine
But it brought back memories of when he was in his prime

Of fought battles and lost buddies, he could never talk about
But he was proud he had served, of this there was no doubt

So with pride he donned it every year on July the Fourth
And he held Old Glory high as proudly he stepped forth

To lead the parade in his hometown as he had for 50 years
But sadly time had taken its toll and now the old man feared

That this might be his last parade and who would take his place
As he marched around the courthouse square at now a slower pace

It seemed no one paid respect to the flag as it passed by
It wasn’t like this years ago and he sadly heaved a sigh

And then he stumbled and the flag almost touched the ground
From somewhere a hand steadied him and he slowly looked around

As a young soldier stepped to his side from amongst the crowd
And took the flag from the old vet’s hand as the young man vowed

“I’ll gladly carry our country’s flag, you see it’s now my turn
You’ve served Old Glory faithfully and a rest you’ve duly earned”

The old soldier breathed a sigh and his heart now swelled with pride
And together they marched down the street, two soldiers side by side

Remember our country’s freedom wasn’t earned without a price
Through the years soldiers bought it with their lives and sacrifice

When you see the flag waving in the air, view it with respect
And give thanks and say a prayer for those who defend and protect

For now and future generations, may it fly forever free
May God bless America, this land of liberty

Sue Ikerd
03-03-03

Copyright 2003 ©

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