Monday, September 19, 2016

THE UNION OF THE FLAGS, a poem

Mayor Smith and Marshal Joffre. Photo by Frank W. Buhler.
The French High Commission visits Philadelphia on 9 May 1917.
May 9, 1917
WE have hung out the flags that we love  best—
     The British, the French and our own;
Adoring we see them together,
     That never together were flown!
And we feel in the bond is a blessing
     For every grief to atone.

O flag of my own Land, give welcome!
     Be proud to embrace, fold with fold,
These emblems of service heroic
     Whose measure can never be told:
These banners that speak to the future
     Of honor that shall not grow old!

Across them is ''Sacrifice'' written;
     They voice peoples generous, brave,
Who, suffering all men can suffer
     This side of eternity, gave
Their best with unflinching devotion,
     The wronged and the helpless to save.

They poured out their hearts' blood for freedom;
     They stood in the terrible way,
And bore the full brunt of the onslaught
     That darkened the sun at noonday.
We gaze with dimmed eyes on their Colors,
     Our souls strong for duty as they!

We will stand with high hearts by our Allies,
     With fear of no evil but shame;
We will face coward Death and outface him,
     In Liberty's eloquent name;
For we're of the brood of the Lion
     That Tyranny never could tame!
"The Union of the Flags" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Pro Patria (1917).

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