Ragged Old Flag

Ragged Old Flag is the 47th album by American country music singer Johnny Cash, released on Columbia Records in 1974.

“Ragged Old Flag” was written in 1974 while Cash was in Binghamton, New York, during a time of political turbulence in the United States that had forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Although Cash had publicly supported Nixon’s candidacy, he had started to question the wisdom of Nixon-era policies concerning the Vietnam War. He wrote “Ragged Old Flag” to “reaffirm faith in the country and the goodness of the American people.”

The song tells the story of an old man in a town square describing what the flag and country have been through together. “Ragged Old Flag” is typical of Cash’s particular style of patriotism characterized by his appreciation for the land, people, and complexities of the United States.

At the first Americana Music Awards in September 2002, Cash added references to Operation Desert Storm and Afghanistan. During live performances, Cash usually introduced the song with the following:

“I thank God for all the freedom we have in this country, I cherish them and treasure them – even the right to burn the flag. We also got the right to bear arms and if you burn my flag – I’ll shoot you. But I’ll shoot you with a lot of love, like a good American”.

“Ragged Old Flag” is recited at events around the country. It has been played by the West Point Band, and recited by various veterans groups at events on Veterans Day and the 4th of July. The Cash version is a tradition on Fox NFL Sunday pregame broadcasts of the Super Bowl.

CREDITS: Ragged Old Flag (song). (2023, February 12). In Wikipedia. Ragged Old Flag (song) – Wikipedia