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Friday » June 23, 2017 

Poetic Reflections

Many of our visitors have written works inspired by their experiences in the U.S. Military, or by patriotism, or...we don't know, exactly. But in this time of worry, of uncertainty, when we are concerned about the security of our nation and our people, it is comforting to reflect upon the goodness and the caring that people show one another. We need to foster this generosity of spirit, this willingness to go out of our way to help our fellow countrymen, our neighbors, our friends, and even strangers in need. Like the film of the same name, we need to 'pass it forward.' A good deed done for another selflessly may inspire the receiver of the deed to do a good deed themselves for someone else.

If you have something you've written about our country, our military or patriotism in general, and you would like it displayed here, just send it to us in an e-mail and we'd be proud to display it here.

These poems are presented in alphabetical order without preference.

» Basic Training » Stand Up and Salute America's Flag » High Flight » I am the Flag

The American's Creed

"I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people by the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principls of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies."

The author of the American's Creed, William Tyler Page, was a descendant of John Page, who had come to America in1650 and had settled in Williamsburg, Virginia. Another ancestor, Carter Braxton, had signed the Declaration of Independence. Still another ancestor, John Tyler, was the tenth president of the United States. William Tyler Page had come to Washington at the age of thirteen to serve as a Capitol Page. Later he became an employee of the Capitol building and served in that capacity for almost sixty-one years. In 1919 he was elected clerk of the House. Thirteen years later, when the Democrats again became a majority party, they created for Page the office of minority clerk of the House of Representatives. He held this position for the remainder of his life.

Referring to the Creed, Page said: "It is the summary of the fundamental principles of the American political faith as set forth in its greatest documents, its worthiest traditions, and its greatest leaders." His wording of the Creed used passages and phrases from the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and Daniel Webster's reply to Robert Y. Hayne in the Senate in 1830.

Historical Notes: The American's Creed was a result of a nationwide contest for writing a National Creed, which would be a brief summary of the American political faith founded upon things fundamental in American history and tradition. The contest was the idea of Henry Sterling Chapin, Commissioner of Education of New York State. Over three thousand entries were received, and William Tyler Page was declared to be the winner. James H. Preston, the mayor of Baltimore, presented an award to Page in the House of Representatives Office Building on April 3, 1918. The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the commissioner of education of the state of New York accepted the Creed for the United States, and the proceedings relating to the award were printed in the Congressional Record of April 13, 1918. It was a time when patriotic sentiments were very much in vogue. The United States had been a participant in World War I only a little over a year at the time the Creed was adopted.

Basic Training

by Margaret (Peggy) Gerhardstein

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Stand Up and Salute America's Flag

Reprinted by Permission - Lena Anken Sexton

Look at this tattered flag. The emblem of our country has taken a beating lately, and we need to do something more than shrug our shoulders. Do you tell your children what the flag really means to you? Do you let them see you stand at attention when it passes by? Do you show respect hoping it might become contagious?

We must not forget our own personal men and women of honor, willing to lay down their lives for their country. Some may be among the homeless, or the next door neighbor, or may have live in an enemy prison camp and now be in Congress, or forgotten to linger in veterans' homes.

So look at this tattered flag and promise yourself to voice at least one positive about the country you live in, and love, not just on Veterans Day but at every opportunity. Remind yourself and other that we don't need militant groups, or another Oklahoma City, or Waco.

We need to remember our people are natives here, our ancestors came here for freedom, whatever their way of life. We must remember that in our background might be the solider who starved to death in prison, because he fought to free the slaves, or one who stood among the dead in the aftermath of a battle in Vietnam, or Korea, or Europe or the southern Pacific, and knew with all his heart that America was still the best the world has to offer, and still worth dying to protect.

We need Americans who let it be known that they love this land they live in, and are willing to seek, share and protects its positives for themselves, and for all the rest of us. No parent, no descendant should ever regret or forget having a solider in their genealogy -- their past or present -- who offered their life for their country.

Ours is a great land! It's up to us, one by one, to keep it that way.

A note about the Author: Lena Anken Sexton. Ms Sexton is a true patriot and loves this country with all of her heart. She is a former worker specialist with the Alaskan Commission on Aging and the Private Industry Council. This particular article was published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper several years ago. She granted us permission to reprint this article on our website providing that we print it with much love and care and the same compassion that she portrays in this writing. Ms Sexton is now retired and lives in a lovely community somewhere in Idaho. We honor Ms Lena Anken Sexton and thank her for writing such an outstanding and moving article, quite obviously from her heart!

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High Flight

by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds -- and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of -- wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space, put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

This poem was written by a young American, John Gillespie Magee, Jr., who flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force in England at the Start of WW II. He was killed shortly after he composed "High Flight."

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I am the Flag

by Ruth Apperson Rous

I am the flag of the United States of America.
I was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.
There the Continental Congress adopted my stars and stripes as the national flag.
My thirteen stripes alternating red and white, with a union of thirteen white stars in a field of blue, represented a new constellation, a new nation dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.
Today fifty stars signal from my union, one for each of the fifty sovereign states in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known.
My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.
My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.
My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.
My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.
I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.
I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.
I typify that indomitable spirit of determination brought to my land by Christopher Columbus and by all my forefathers - the Pilgrims, Puritans, settlers at James town and Plymouth.
I am as old as my nation.
I am a living symbol of my nation's law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
I voice Abraham Lincoln's philosophy: "A government of the people, by the people,for the people."
I stand guard over my nation's schools, the seedbed of good citizenship and true patriotism.
I am displayed in every schoolroom throughout my nation; every schoolyard has a flag pole for my display.
Daily thousands upon thousands of boys and girls pledge their allegiance to me and my country.
I have my own law—Public Law 829, "The Flag Code" - which definitely states my correct use and display for all occasions and situations.
I have my special day, Flag Day. June 14 is set aside to honor my birth.
Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country. I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.
I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity.
If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots.
Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.
As you see me silhouetted against the peaceful skies of my country, remind yourself that I am the flag of your country, that I stand for what you are - no more, no less.
Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.
Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand: "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.
God grant that I may spend eternity in my "land of the free and the home of the brave" and that I shall ever be known as "Old Glory," the flag of the United States of America.

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