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THE CALL OF THE FLAG

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The strong colors and the glorious beauty of the American flag express well the overwhelming fact of modern history the evolution of the American Republic. Wherever it may be, the flag is both attractive and assertive. In the home the colors do not clash with other colors. If they do not blend, neither do they repel. In the remotest distance the flag may be seen above every other object and distinguished from every other flag. The red and white stripes standing for the original states, and the silvery stars representing the Union, radiate and scintillate as far as the eye can reach. Far or near, the American flag is true and sure, brilliant and radiant, cordial and independent.

It is a modern flag. There are no myths or legends, no ruins or heraldry, no armour or castles about it. It expresses the political independence of a plain people, the advance of a new nation, the self-conscious power, the confident aspirations, and the universal good will of popular government.

What has been said of the flag has largely been inspired by war. Souls must be aflame to give out oratory and poetry. The flag has many times been at the battle front. The sight of it has inspired many a boy to do and die for his country. It was in the crucial campaign of the Revolution, that for the possession of New York, beginning at Fort Schuyler, continuing at Oriskany, and ending with the surrender of Burgoyne's entire army at Saratoga, that the flag was first given to the air in the face of an enemy. In this state it began to gather the deep love of a free people. That love has since grown deeper and yet deeper through the hail and flame, the heroisms and deaths, of an hundred battles. It is sad that war had to be, but for us there was no other way. Independence of Britain could not come by arbitration. The Union could not be saved by negotiation. Fighting is bad business, but there are times when it is better than submission. The strength and courage of a people are the guardians of their peace, of their freedom, and of their progress. The perils, the sufferings, and the heroisms of the country have made the literature of the flag.

But the flag of the American Union, now as never before, tells of toleration and of good will, of education and of industry. It has welcomed millions from all nations of the world and has held out

Introduction to State Education Department publication on The American Flag, June 1910.

the equal chance to all who came under its folds. Every new star added to its blue field has told of a new state, and every new state tells of more farms cleared, more factories opened, more churches and schools set in motion, and more laws and courts to regulate them all and to assure the equal rights of every one.

Out of the equal chance of freemen, out of the farms and forests and mines, out of the majestic rivers and charming valleys and lofty mountains, and out of the bracing air that is filled with sunshine, mighty public works and marvelous institutions of culture have sprung. Railways and roadways, tunnels and aqueducts, newspapers and magazines, theaters and art galleries, cathedrals and universities, have grown. They are the products and the promoters of civilization and they give strength and stateliness to the flag.

The American flag has looked down upon the writing of more constitutions and the making of more laws than any other flag in history. Some of this lawmaking has been crude, and perhaps some of it has been mistaken, but it has been both the necessary accompaniment and the stimulating cause of our wonderful national evolution.

As man does so is he. All of these industrial, educational, religious, and political doings have produced a new nation of keen, alert, sinewy, and right-minded people, who have power and know it. They have the traits of a young nation. But they are lacking neither in introspection, nor in imagination, nor in humor. More knowledge of other peoples than their fathers had and increasing responsibilities are sobering and steadying them. In their dealings with other peoples they intend to be just, frank, magnanimous. Their political philosophy is only the logical outworking of the Golden Rule. They have undoubting faith in democracy and would exemplify it in ways to commend and extend it.

The American flag expresses a glorious history, but it does not hark back to it overmuch. It looks forward more than backward. It calls upon us to do for this generation and to regard all the generations that will follow after. It knows that some time there. will be five hundred or a thousand millions of people in the United States instead of one hundred millions. It expects still greater public works and many more public conveniences. It sees better than any one of us does how hard it will be for such a self-governing people to hold what belongs to them in common, and to manage their great enterprises without frauds and for the good of all.

The people of the United States are not only the proprietors of

great natural possessions; they are inheritors of the natural rights of man, fought for by their ancestors in the mother country, granted in the great charters of English liberty, and established in the English common law. They have added to this what seemed worth taking from other systems of jurisprudence and from the manifold experiences of other lands; they have proved their capacity to administer their inheritance, and to their natural and political estates they have added the experiences of their own successful and notable national career. The flag not only adjures us to guard what we have in property and in law, but to train the children so that the men and women of the future may administer their inheritance better than we have ours or than our fathers did theirs.

The flag does more than emblazon a momentous and glorious history; it declares the purposes and heralds the ideals of the Republic; it admonishes us to uphold the inherent rights of all men; it tells us to stand for international justice and conciliation, and it encourages us to accept the consequences without fear. It hails us to individual duties and the cooperation which alone can maintain equality of rights and fullness of opportunity in America. It insists that we set a compelling example which will enlarge both security and freedom, both peace and prosperity, in all parts of the world.

A flag of glowing splendor calls to a nation of infinite possibilities. It calls upon the American people to conserve property, health, and morals; to preach the gospel of work and protect the accumulations of thrift; to open every kind of school to all manner of people; and to spare neither alertness nor force in keeping clean the springs of political action and in punishing venality in public life. That is the call of the radiant flag of the Union to the self-governing nation of the western world which is being compounded out of all the nations and is creating a new manner of civilization out of all the civilizations of the earth.

LAKE CHAMPLAIN TERCENTENARY

There is reason enough for the two great celebrations which the state of New York is to hold in July and September next. Lake Champlain and the Hudson river were discovered and explored in the same year, 1609, the lake in July, and the river in September. Each took the name of the discoverer. Champlain was a French sea captain, in the service of France, and Hudson was an English sea captain, in the employ of the Dutch.

Lake Champlain is about ninety miles long in a straight line. In width it varies from a half mile to fifteen miles. It has about fifty attractive islands. Its shores are broken by innumerable bays and inlets. The Adirondack mountains form the background on the New York side, and the Green mountains on the Vermont side. On the shores of the lake and at the foot of the mountains there are many fine towns and pretty villages, and a great number of sumptuous summer homes. The lake has been well stocked with fish, and the surrounding forests abound in game. Magnificent steamers and beautiful sailboats and pleasure yachts traverse its waters. Excellent railroads skirt its borders. It has come to be a playground for the whole nation. Taken altogether, it makes one of the most attractive and impressive regions to be seen anywhere in the world.

Celebrated as Lake Champlain is for its natural beauty and its energetic life, it is even more celebrated for its history. Song and story and legend, forts and battlefields, heroisms and tragedies which stir and appall mankind, and victories of the utmost importance to America and to all civilization, are all associated with Lake Champlain. It is hardly too much to say that upon its beautiful waters the American navy was born, that it witnessed the contests which decided that the Iroquois and not the Algonquins or the Hurons, that civilization and not savagery, that the English and not the French, that the Republic of the United States and not the British Empire, should be dominant, successively, in the western continent.

Lake Champlain, with the Hudson, forms a natural highway of momentous import from the Atlantic ocean to the St Lawrence river. The Indians knew this road well and followed it much.

Written for the Lake Champlain Tercentenary pamphlet issued by the State Education Department in honor of the celebration, July 4-10, 1909.

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