Old Veteran on a Courthouse Lawn
A protest raged on a courthouse lawn,
'round a makeshift stage they charged on.
Fifteen hundred or more they say
Had come to burn the flag that day.
A boy held up the folded flag,
Cursed it and called it a dirty rag.
An old man pushed through the angry crowd
With a rusty shotgun shouldered proud.
His uniform jacket was old and tight,
He had polished each button, shiny and bright.
He crossed the stage with military grace,
Until he and the boy stood face to face.
"Freedom of speech", the old man said,
Is worth dying for. Good men are dead
So you can stand on this courthouse lawn
And talk us down from dusk to dawn,
But before any flag gets burned today,
This old man is going to have his say!"
"My father died on a foreign shore
In a war they said would end all war.
But Tommy and I wasn't even full grown,
Before we fought in a war of our own.
And Tommy died on Iwo Jima's beach,
In the shadow of a hill he couldn't quite reach."
"Where six good men raised this flag so high,
That the whole damn world could see it fly.
I got this bum leg that I still drag,
Fighting for this same old flag.
Now there's but one shot in this old gun,
So now it's time to decide which one ..."
"Which one of you will follow our lead
To stand and die for what you believe?
For as sure as there is a rising sun,
You'll burn in hell 'fore this flag burns, son."
Now this riot never came to pass,
The crowd got quiet, and that can of gas
Got set aside as they walked away
To talk about what they had heard this day.
And the boy who had called it a dirty rag,
Handed the old soldier the folded flag.
So the battle of the flag this day was won
By a tired old soldier with a rusty gun,
Who for one last time, had to show to some,
These colors don't run!