Apostrophe to the Flag
April 19, 1920 — 29th Continental Congress, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington DC
Hail to thee, flag of our fathers, flag of the free! With pride and loyalty and love we greet thee, and promise to cherish thee forever. How wonderful has been thy onward progress of conquest through the years! How marvelous the triumph of thy followers over the vicissitudes of fortune that met them on their way! Daring men have reverently placed thee on the icy crags of the frozen north, and have as reverently stationed thee on the cloud-swept wastes of the far-off frozen south. They have followed thee in willing service over the wastes of every ocean, and into the depths of the impenetrable blue. Stalwart, strong-hearted men have willingly laid down their lives at thy command, to guard the outposts of freedom. Millions of men, women and children have stood at attention, listening for the first sound of thy need, willing to give their all, if need be, for thy defense. Thousands on thousands of our bravest and our best followed thee across the seas for the glorious privilege of defending the weak and the helpless, or of reinforcing the hard-pressed lines of brave men who would not yield!
Our Flag! It has long been known as the emblem of strength and power. The stricken nations of the earth have learned sweeter attributes: kindly sympathy, loving service, generous helpfulness. By those thou art welcome throughout the earth.
Glorious and beautiful flag of our fathers, the Star Spangled Banner — beautiful in thine own waving folds, glorious in the memory of the brave deeds of those who chose thee for their standard — more beautiful, more glorious is the great nation which has inherited their land and their flag — if we who claim, who boast our lineage from those heroes gone — if we inherit not along their name, their blood, their banner, but inherit their nobler part, the spirit that actuated them, their love of liberty, their devotion to justice, their inflexible pursuance of righteousness and truth.
Most beautiful and most glorious, shalt thou be as the messenger of such a nation, bearing to the ends of the earth glad tidings of the joy and the glory and the happiness of a people where freedom is linked with justice, where liberty is restrained by law, and where “peace on earth, good will to men” is the living creed.
Press on, press on, O glorious banner, bearing this message to all the peoples —
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee —
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears;
Our faith, triumphant o’er our fears,
Are all with thee, are all with thee.
Source: Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Continental Congress of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (Washington DC: The A.B. Graham Company) 1920, p. 7.