OUR FLAG-THE PROUD EMBLEM OF THE REPUBLIC. by General Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe (October 14, 1833 – January 13, 1911) served seven terms as the mayor of Baltimore, Maryland. A speech given in Maryland on Independence Day 1876
Gentlemen :—On behalf of the Commissioners of Harlem Park, I accept the beautiful flag which you have this day presented. Our country’s flag, the most fitting gift to be made on her one hundredth birthday. What recollections crowd upon us on this Fourth of July, 1876! One hundred years ago on this most blessed day, there assembled in Independence Hall, in the City of Philadelphia, a band of patriots, who bravely, fearlessly proclaimed to the world that immortal declaration, written by Jefferson, which created a new nation among the powers of the earth. A century has elapsed, and from those original thirteen States has grown this mighty confederation known as the United States of America. The flag thrown to the breeze in 1776 has withstood the battle and the storm; and now triumphantly waves over thirty-eight great States, and fifty millions of free and independent citizens. Based upon free institutions, free speech, free thought, and free schools, our Union rests upon an imperishable rock foundation, that only hardens with the test of a century. “What a triumph for Republican institutions.
The birth of our country was not peaceful. One could suppose on reading the words of the declaration that the expression of such sentiments, such “self-evident truths,” would have brought forth shouts of gladness and congratulations from the enlightened nations of the world; but the greeting received was from mouths of shotted cannon, the rattling of steel ramrods, the sharpening of swords, and the whitening of the ocean with the sails of transports, bearing armed men across the sea to stamp out the bursting bud of liberty before it should bloom into the flower of eternal life.
During seven long years of trial and suffering the American patriots under the leadership of the immortal Washington, struggled for a free existence. At times the fortunes of the colonies were at so low an ebb, that the great leader himself almost despaired of final triumph, and contemplating a possibility of failure had determined to rally around him those who preferred death to submission, retreat to the fastnesses of the mountains in the interior, and there maintain a desperate struggle for liberty until the end. But the God of battles had willed it otherwise, the darkness of the storm was followed by the bursting light of the day of freedom, and the nation nursed in a cradle of blood and war for seven years after its birth, sprung into manhood in the triumph of victory in 1773.
And now one hundred years have passed. We had our trials and troubles, wars, foreign and domestic, but the Providence that so tenderly watched over us in our infancy has not neglected us in our prime. To-day the Republic is at peace with all the world, our flag respected at home and abroad, our people prosperous and happy, and our example already liberalizing those very governments which looked with horror and dread at the growth of free institutions. And when another century rolls around, may future generations be as devoted to these great principles of freedom, and as determined to maintain them as the generations that have passed. And in 1976, as now, may the star spangled banner in triumph still wave, ” o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
I accept in the name of the Commissioners of Harlem Park this beautiful flag, and assure you upon their part that it shall be cherished as it deserves. And when hereafter it floats from your tall staff, may the mothers of Baltimore, pointing their children to its gorgeous folds, teach them to love, honor and revere that starry banner, as the proud emblem of this great Republic!See also: WHAT HISTORY TEACHES US ABOUT AMERICAN DIPLOMACY Addressed in 1876
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