You’re a Grand Old Flag

October 5, 2007 at 10:21 am Leave a comment

Written by George M. Cohan back in 1906, the popular chorus of this song is well-known throughout the United States as a celebration of “Old Glory,” the red, white and blue:

You’re a grand old flag
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave
You’re an emblem of
The land I love
The home of the free and the brave
Every heart beats true
‘Neath the red, white and blue
Where there’s never a boast or brag
But should auld acquaintance be forgot
Keep your eye on the grand old flag

To hear the melody of this patriotic chorus, click here.

George Cohan initially wrote the piece as part of his stage musical “George Washington, Jr.” Within months of the musical’s opening night, the song had become a hit across the nation. However, the words and tune we know so well today are actually only the chorus of Cohan’s original song. Here is the full set of words (note the second phrase of the original chorus is quite different than how we sing it today):

There’s a feeling comes a-stealing and it sets my brain a-reeling,
When I’m list’ning to the music of a military band.
Any tune like “Yankee Doodle” simply sets me off my noodle,
It’s that patriotic something that no one can understand.
“Way down south in the land of cotton,” melody untiring,
Ain’t that inspiring!
Hurrah! Hurrah! We’ll join the jubilee,
And that’s going some for the Yankees, by gum!
Red, White and Blue, I am for you,
Honest, you’re a grand old rag.

You’re a grand old flag tho’ you’re torn to a rag,
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of the land I love,
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true under Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag;
“But should auld acquaintance be forgot,”
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

I’m no cranky, hanky panky, I’m a dead square honest Yankee,
And I’m mighty proud of that old flag that flies for Uncle Sam.
Though I don’t believe in raving ev’ry time I see it waving,
There’s a chill runs up my back that makes me glad I’m what I am.
Here’s a land with a million soldiers, that’s if we should need ‘em,
We’ll fight for freedom!
Hurrah! Hurrah! For ev’ry Yankee Tar
And old G. A. R., ev’ry stripe, ev’ry star,
Red, White and Blue, hats off to you,
Honest, you’re a grand old rag.

You can visit the Library of Congress to view the original sheet music for this song.

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