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Old Glory’s Story

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Old Glory's Story

Most of us grew up on Montana ranches
Before hirin’ on at the Star-Stripe
We were overall a fairly young crew
But still the committed cowhand type

After surviving the Great War
The ranch was started by Walter Olson
He began with a small herd of black baldies
A few miles southwest of Polson

Old Glory was always a flyin’
Flappin’ proud all day in the sunlight
Tall above the headquarters house
Lit by two bright floods all night

We bunkhouse boys loved our country
Grateful for our freedoms and such
But none of us had been in uniform
We hadn’t valued that flag so much

One day Whitey got the nerve
So he up and asked the boss
Why he never replaces that tattered flag
That one looks as if built by Betsy Ross

He grunted away upset or annoyed
But then he turned back, softenin’ a bit
Sayin’, “Y’all might not understand
This’ll take a while, have a sit”

He slumped his shoulders, tryin’ to speak
Strugglin’ for quite some time
Gatherin’ his words, emotions showin’
Then the story started flowin’ out sublime

“Well boys it’s a long story for sure
If it’s the truth you want to hear
I won’t abbreviate this explanation
The subjects are much too dear

Like all the rest of you boys
I never went to war myself
Someone had to run the ranch and
My gimp leg kept me home on the shelf

It all started with my great grandad
A Marine who survived Belleau Wood
He’d lost over a thousand buddies there
Came home'n started this ranch when he could

Then my grandfather joined the navy
He’d gone to school to be a lawyer
But was at sea on December seventh
First shots fired by "The Ward", his destroyer

My father was an elite Air Force PJ
Who served two tours in Vietnam
That’s why he only has one leg
But survived via prayers from my mom

My younger brother was a Ranger
Serving tours in Afghanistan and Iraq
That bloody mess still lingering
We pray he don’t get called back

Fightin’ for our independence and freedom
We’ve always had family and kin
Even in the tragic War Between the States
My ancestors fought both sides to win

You’ll notice that tired old flag
Has had lots of repairs to it’s scars
And when you study on the union
You’ll observe that it’s short two stars

That’s the flag that Great Grandad
Brought home from a Flanders field
His son carried it proud in the Pacific
And then to Korea as a shield

My dad when he’d rescue jump
Always had it tucked inside his suit
And my brother stitched on it in Iraq
Packin’ it right next to his chute

So y’see boys that flag carries stories
None of us can ever comprehend or know
It flies here at the ranch house
As we pray not one more Olson will go

But should one more of our kin
Get called to foreign battles roam
That sacred family treasure will go along
And he’ll be entrusted to bring it home

And so I passionately fly it there
Above the place they fought to save
Not just this here ranch were on but
This land of the free and home of the brave

Almost imperceptibly, Whitey just nodded
And slowly stood without making a sound
Each of us respectfully put hat in hand
At last an understandin' of Old Glory'd been found

By, Rik Goodell

© 2021

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