Edgar Albert Guest

(20 August 1881 - 5 August 1959 / Birmingham / England)

The Better Thing


It is better to die for the flag,
For its red and its white and its blue,
Than to hang back and shirk and to lag
And let the flag sink out of view.
It is better to give up this life
In the heat and the thick of the strife
Than to live out your days 'neath a sky,
Where Old Glory shall never more fly.

The peace that we long for will be
Far worse than the war that we dread
If never again we're to see
The blue, and the white and the red
Wind-tossed and sun-kissed in the skies.
If ever the Stars and Stripes dies
Or loses its lustre and pride,
We shall wish in our souls we had died.

It is better by far that we die
Than that flag shall pass out of the world;
If ever it ceases to fly,
If ever it's hauled down and furled,
Dishonor shall stamp us with shame
And freedom be naught but a name,
And the few years of dearly-bought breath
Will be filled with worse horrors than death.

Submitted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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