‘Cause I’m mighty proud of that ragged old flag’

Warwick Elks celebrate flag day with Johnston seniors


Perhaps the “Man in Black” summed it up best, when he sang his 1974 ballad “That Ragged Old Flag.”

“So we raise her up every morning,” sang Johnny Cash. “We take her down every night. We don't let her touch the ground and we fold her up right. On second thought, I do like to brag. 'Cause I'm mighty proud of that ragged old flag.”

Officers and members of Warwick’s Tri-City Elks Lodge visited the Johnston Senior Center on Flag Day, Tuesday, June 14, to perform their annual banner celebration ritual.

The West Shore Road lodge led the singing of the American National Anthem, the “Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.”

And in between songs, they offered the story of the flag, messages behind its meaning, and heartfelt patriotic readings.

Ann Licciardi, Tri-City Elks’ Inner Guard, took to the lectern.

“Upon its folds is written the story of America — the epic of the mightiest and noblest in all history,” she said. “In all the days when peoples of the old world groveled in abject homage to the heresy of ‘the divine rights of kings,’ a new constellation appeared in the western skies, the Stars and Stripes, symbolizing the divine right of all to life, liberty, happiness and peace under endowment by their Creator.”

Licciardi choked up several times during the ritual.

“To what man or woman is given words adequate to tell the story of the building of this nation?” She asked. “That immortal story is written in blood and sweat, in heroic deeds and unremitting toil, in clearing the primeval forests and in planting of vast prairies where once the coyote and buffalo roamed. Onward swept the nation, spanning wide rivers, leaping vast mountain ranges, leaving in its path villages and farms, factories and cities, till at last this giant nation stood astride the continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”

Johnston Senior members, their friends and their families, stood to pledge allegiance to the flag. Right hands covered hearts. Some hands, flattened, pressed against brows in unwavering salutes.

That Ragged Old Flag

By Johnny Cash

… I walked through a county courthouse square

On a park bench an old man was sitting there

I said, your old courthouse is kinda run down

He said, naw, it'll do for our little town

I said, your old flagpole has leaned a little bit

And that's a ragged old flag you got hanging on it

… He said, have a seat, and I sat down

Is this the first time you've been to our little town?

I said, I think it is

He said, I don't like to brag

But we're kinda proud of that ragged old flag

… You see, we got a little hole in that flag there when

Washington took it across the Delaware

And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key

Sat watching it writing say can you see

And it got a bad rip in New Orleans

With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seams

… And it almost fell at the Alamo

Beside the texas flag, but she waved on though

She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville

And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill

There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg

And the south wind blew hard on that ragged old flag

… On Flanders field in World War one

She got a big hole from a Bertha gun

She turned blood red in World War Two

She hung limp and low a time or two

She was in Korea and Vietnam

She went where she was sent by Uncle Sam

… She waved from our ships upon the Briny foam

And now they've about quit waving her back here at home

In her own good land here she's been abused

She's been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused

… And the government for which she stands

Is scandalized throughout the land

And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin

But she's in good shape for the shape she's in

'Cause she's been through the fire before

And I believe she can take a whole lot more

… So we raise her up every morning

We take her down every night

We don't let her touch the ground and we fold her up right

On second thought, I do like to brag

'Cause I'm mighty proud of that ragged old flag

flag, flag day, flags


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