Patriotic Themes

        Here is a collection of American Patriotic Themes. For all its problems we still get a lump in our throat when the flag passes by, when the National Anthem is sung, when we dig into the meaning of the Pledge of Alegiance. And our Scouts need to learn this. If you have something on a Patriotic Theme, send it my way and I'll include it here.

Table of Contents

The Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us as a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Francis Scott Key, 1814

I Am An American
Author: Unknown

"I am an American." That's the way that most of us put it, just matter-of-factly. They are plain words, those four; you could write them on your thumbnail, or you could sweep them clear across the bright autumn sky. But remember, too, that they are a way of life. So, whenever you speak them, speak them proudly, speak them gratefully -- "I AM AN AMERICAN!"

-- Thanks to Matthew B. Byerly ASM, T-906 Valparaiso, IN

The Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence

Have you ever wondered what happened to the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured.

Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed, and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacredhonor. What sort of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence full knowing that the penalty would be death were they captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

These are the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These werenot wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men: men of means and education. They had security, yet they valued liberty more. Unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

They gave us, you and me, a free and independent America. History books never told us much of what took place in the Revolutionary War. We didn't just fight the British. We were British subjects at that time, and we fought our own government. Many of us often take these liberties for granted. Should we?

While enjoying our 4th of July holiday, pause and silently thank these patriots.

It isn't that much to ask for the price they paid.


The Pledge of Allegiance According to Red Skelton

FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED, here is the complete, un-edited text, as presented by Red Skelton, on The Red Skelton Hour, January 14, 1969. I have tried to recreate this as best as possible. With a hearing impairment, I may have missed a couple of words (hidden in the laughter during his introduction of the pledge), but this should be very close to the exact words that Red Skelton recited for his show.

It is hard to recreate Red's timing and presentation. I still think he was one of the very best and wish he would release his show for re-runs. (I was a boy scout when I saw him do this on his show.) The presentation has background music and is hard to present better than Red Skelton did, especially if you have people there who had watched Red Skelton and they can imagine him standing there doing this.

Red Skelton:
"Getting back to school, getting back to school, I remember a teacher that I had. Now I only wee, I went, I went through the seventh grade, I went through the seventh grade. I left home when I was 10 years old because I was hungry. (laughter) And .. this is true. I worked in the Summer and went to school in the Winter. But, I had this one teacher, he was the principal of the Harrison school, in Vincennes Indiana. To me, this was the greatest teacher, a real sage of..of my time, anyhow.

He had such wisdom. And we were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance one day, and he walked over. This little old teacher ... Mr. Lasswell was his name. ... Mr. Lasswell was his ah ...

(at this point a pause and laughter. Red is making faces and playing with his hat!)

He says: ...

"I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance .. all semester ... and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you.

If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word.

*I* -- me, an individual, a committee of one.
*Pledge*--dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
*Allegiance*--my love and my devotion.
*To the Flag*--our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job.
*United*--that means that we have all come together.
*States*--individual communities that have united into 48 great states. 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that's love for country.
*And to the Republic*--Republic, a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
*For Which It Stands*
*One Nation* -- One nation, meaning, so blessed by God.
*Indivisible* -- incapable of being divided.
*With Liberty* -- which is freedom, the right of power to live one's own life without threats or fear or some sort of retaliation.
*And Justice* -- the principle or qualities of dealing fairly with others.
*For All*--For all... which means boys and girls, it's as much your country, as it is mine."

And now boys and girls let me hear you recite, the Pledge of Allegiance.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance - "under God".

Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said, "That is a prayer" and that would be eliminated from schools, too?

-- Thanks to Chris Haggerty

Remembering Your Colors

by: Dave Tracewell

Remember Me? Yeah, that's right, red & white stripes, fifty stars on a blue field in the upper left corner, I am your Flag, but I've also been know by "Old Glory", the "Stars and Stripes", and the "Star Spangled Banner". Whatever you call me, I am the flag of the United States of America.

I remember years ago that people used to honor me, fly me with pride outside their homes and at work, and children in school would Pledge their Allegiance to me every day. They would carry me in parades and people would watch and salute me with pride as I passed by, proudly waving in the wind.

When men and woman saw me coming, the men removed their hats and placed it over their hearts and the women placed their right hands over theirs. And their children were taught respect for the flag, and what to do as well. Now I'm lucky if they even recognize me, or even notice at all. Now, the young boys and girls make fun of those who carry me, and call them names. They haven't learned, or don't remember about the thousands of men and women who gave up their lives for me. People who knew the the meaning of Freedom, Liberty, Justice, and Peace.

Why has this happened? I'm still your American Flag. I haven't really changed that much... just added a few stars over the years, been a whole lot more places, and though it all, stood strong by you. Why don't people respect me the same way they used to? A lot of blood has been shed since those parades of long ago. A lot more men and women have died defending me. When you honor me, you honor those men and women who gave up every- thing for your freedom. When I am flown, I see people not notice. When I am in a parade, I see people just stand there, with their hands in their pockets. I may get a small glance, but then you look away. Next time, please notice and respect me. Next time stand and be proud to be an American Citizen!

I see the young children of today running around and not being taught how to act when I'm around. Don't the parents of today care? Don't they know how to act? I saw one man start to take off his hat and looked around and saw no one else doing it, so just put it back on. I saw some kids calling the Boy Scouts who were carrying me names and making fun of them. I saw many just sit there as I passed by, talking with one another like I didn't even exist. Is it now wrong to be patriotic? Have today's Americans forgotten what I stand for and where I've been?

If you don't care, who will? If you don't teach our children what I stand for, and how to act around me, who will? If our children don't learn how to respect our flag, what it means to defend our country, and how important Freedom, Liberty, and Patriotic Duty is, what future does our mighty country have? So, when you see me, stand straight, think about what I stand for, think about all of the Americans that have died for our country, and place your right-hand over your heart or salute to honor me. I'll be saluting you back by waving strong and proud in the wind. And I'll know that you remembered me.

I am Your Flag

I am the symbol of the living America, the badge of its greatness, the emblem of its destiny.

I am faith. It is I who keep men mindful of their priceless heritage, life, liberty, and the right to pursue happiness.

I am hope. I represent the land of promise wherein, already, man's loftiest dreams have approached closer to realization than ever before on this earth.

I am life. Each strand and fiber of my being is a memorial, dedicated to the sacrifices of all those strong men and steadfast women who have lived and died in the nation's service, that it might live forever.

I am tolerance. So long as I shall wave, all people under my protection may freely worship, think, write and speak, undaunted by the shadow of fear.

I am justice, tempered with mercy. For I am friend to the oppressed and downtrodden of every land.

I am a sign of the future. I wave over schools throughout the nation and in them the nation's future is molded.

I am the flag of the United States... the last... the best hope for peace on earth.

-- Thanks to Bill Nelson, WL, Pack 878, ASM, Troop 14, Unit Commissioner, Tempe District, Grand Canyon Council, Phoenix, Arizona


by Marine Master Sargeant Percy Webb

  • I am your flag.
  • I was born June 14, 1777.
  • I am more then just cloth shaped into a design.
  • I am the refuge of the World's oppressed people.
  • I am the silent sentinel of freedom.
  • I am the emblem of the greatest sovereign nation on earth.
  • I am the inspiration for which American Patriots gave their lives and fortunes.
  • I have led your sons into battle from Valley Forge to the dense jungles of Vietnam [deserts of Iraq].
  • I walk in silence with each of your honored dead to their final resting
  • place beneath the silent white crosses - row upon row.
  • I have flown through peace and war; strife and prosperity; and amidst it all, I have been respected.
  • I am your flag.
  • My red stripes symbolize the blood spilled in defense of this glorious nation.
  • My white stripes signify the yearning tears shed by Americans who lost their sons and daughters.
  • My blue field is indicative of God's heaven, under which I fly.
  • My stars, clustered together, unify fifty states as one, for God and Country. "Old Glory" is my nickname, and I proudly wave on high. Honor me, respect me, defend me with your lives and your fortunes.
  • Never let my enemies tear me down from my lofty position, lest I never return.
  • Keep alight the fires of patriotism; strive earnestly for the spirit of Democracy.
  • Worship Eternal God, and keep his commandments; and I shall remain the bulwark of peace and freedom for all mankind.

-- Thanks to Bill Nelson, WL, Pack 878, ASM, Troop 14, Unit Commissioner, Tempe District, Grand Canyon Council, Phoenix, Arizona USA

I Am Old Glory

I am old glory; for more the 9 score years I have been the banner of hope and freedom for generation after generation of Americans. Born amid the first flames of America's fight for freedom, I am the symbol of a country that has grown from a little group of 13 colonies to a united nation of 50 sovereign states. Planted firmly on the high pinnacle of American Faith, my gently fluttering folds have proved an inspiration to untold millions. Men have followed me into battle with unwavering courage. They have looked upon me as a symbol of national unity. They have prayed that they and their fellow citizens might continue to enjoy the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, which have been granted to every American as the heritage of free men. So long as men love liberty more than life itself, so long as they treasure the priceless privileges bought with the blood of our forefathers; so long as the principles of truth, justice and charity for all remain deeply rooted in human hearts, I shall continue to be the enduring banner of the United States of America.

-- Thanks to Bill Nelson, WL, Pack 878, ASM, Troop 14, Unit Commissioner, Tempe District, Grand Canyon Council, Phoenix, Arizona USA

Remember Our Flag

Author Unknown

Somewhere a bugle softly sounds
The message of renown,
And men inside their buildings wait
Unitl the flag comes down

And others run to get their cars,
Quite harrowed or dismayed,
Afraid they will not reach the gate
Before retreat is played-
Not thinking of the flag or the men
Who fought to keep it flying

How many would be glad to stand,
Whose bodies are now mute,
Or have no hand they might raise
And stand in proud salute

So accept it not as duty
But a privelege even more
And receive it as an honor
Insted of just a chore

Now, this was written for and about folks in the military but, there is a message for Scouts and Scouters alike.

-- Thanks to Hal Dudley, Killeen, Texas

Old Glory on the Moon

by Mary V. DeMaio

This poem appeared in the Hartford Courant this morning, and it is well worth sharing it with all of you. It was written back in 1971 inspired by sight of the American Flag on the moon.

"Remember me? I'm Old Glory,
Don't have to tell my story.
It's written all over me.
I am your family tree.

"I never dreamed that one day soon,
I would be planted on the Moon.
So on my 14th day of June
Let's all celebrate with a boom.

"If each and every one of you
Have love for my red, white and blue,
Then proudly show my colors true
And let me hear you say 'I do.'

"Way up on high I have no show
And all alone I cannot grow
But 50 stars will always glow
In hopes of spreading peace below."

-- Thanks to Jerry Gray


O, beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

O, beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress,
A thoroughfare for freedom beat,
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O, beautiful for heroes proved,
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
Till a success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O, beautiful for patriot dream,
That sees, beyond the years,
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

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