He was a gentle man who stood with pride,
His body was ebbing like the outgoing tide;
His walk was slow, for age took its toll,
To live but one season was his goal.
Passing two lads in the park,
He noticed something, though almost dark;
There was a cloth on the ground,
A cloth that the boys had recently found.
With cold gray eyes, he looked their way,
Then tears fell as he bowed to pray;
"God, give me strength, show me what to do,
To teach them respect for the red, white and blue."
"Mister, why are you crying, what did we do?
It's just an old rag that's red, white and blue;"
"That cloth you call just an old rag,
Is Old Glory ... our nation's flag."
"There's 13 stripes and 50 stars,
Blood was shed for those bars;
Each star represents one great state,
Pick up the flag, it's not too late."
"But mister, why are you angry?
Oh, what did we do?
It's still just a rag
That's red, white and blue."
He bent his head and closed his eyes,
Then looked at the boys and said with a sigh,
"This is your flag, a sight to behold,
A symbol of freedom worth more than gold."
"Our freedom to speak and think as we choose,
For this, our ancestors paid their dues;
They fought in wars, and gave their lives,
Fever took their children and their wives."
"These were your families as well as mine,
We put their honor on the line;
So our flag can fly for all to see,
Symbolizing freedom for you and me."
"Mister, we're so sorry, what can we do?
We'll brush off the dirt from the red, white and blue;
And put up a pole here in the park,
Fly her with pride from morn til' dark."
The three stood still and silence was strong,
The boys knew now why they were wrong;
As they gazed upon that tattered flag,
Their hearts told them this was no rag.
Though dirty and torn, she flew that day,
"That's our flag," he heard them say.