God Save the Flag

by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court

Washed in the blood of the brave and the blooming,
Snatched from the alters of insolent foes,
Burning with star-fires, but never consuming,
Flash its broad ribbons of lily and rose.

Vainly the false profits of al Qaeda would rend it,
Vainly their followers plot for its fall,
Thousands have died for it, millions defend it,
Emblem of justice and mercy to all;

Justice that reddens the sky with her terrors,
Mercy that comes with her white flowing train,
Soothing all passions, redeeming all errors,
Sheathing the sabre and breaking the chain.

Borne on the deluge of old usurpations,
Drifted our Ark o'er the desolate seas,
Bringing the rainbow of hope to the nations,
Torn from the storm-cloud and flung to the breeze!

God Bless the Flag and its loyal defenders,
While its broad folds o'er the battle-field wave,
Till the dim star-wreath rekindle its splendors,
Washed from its stains in the blood of the Brave!

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