Keep It Flying


There is something in a flag, and a little burnished eagle,
That is more than emblematic — it is glorious, it’s regal.
You may never live to feel it, you may never be in danger,
You may never visit foreign lands, and play the role of stranger;
You may never in the army check the march of an invader,
You may never on the ocean cheer the swarthy cannonader.

But if these should happen to you, then, when age is on you pressing,
And your great big, booby boy comes to ask your final blessing;
You will tell him: Son of mine, be your station proud or frugal,
When you country calls her children, and you hear the blare of bugle,
Don’t stop to think of Kansas, or the quota of your county,
don’t you go to asking questions, don’t you stop for pay or bounty,
But you volunteer at once; and you go where orders take you,
And obey them to the letter if they make you or they break you.

Hunt that flag and then stay with it, be you wealthy or plebeian;
Let the women sing the dirges, scrape the line and chant the paean.
Though the magazines and journals teem with anti-war persuasion,
And the stay-at-homes and cowards gladly take the little occasion,
Don’t you ever dream of asking, “Is the war a right or wrong one?”
You are in it, and your duty is to make the fight a strong one,
And you stay till it is over, be the war a short or long one.

Make amends when war is over, then the power with you is lying,
Then, if wrong, do ample justice — but that flag, you keep it flying;
If that flag goes down to ruin, time will then, without a warning,
Turn the dial back to midnight and the world must wait till morning.

— Written 30 years ago by Eugene F. Ware (“Ironquill”).

The Carroll Herald (Carroll, Iowa) May 27, 1914

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