Address on the Returning of Flags Carried by Troops in the World War

Title: Address on the Returning of Flags Carried by Troops in the World War

Date: June 14, 1919

Location:  Springfield, MA

Context: Coolidge accepts with reverence flags from returning troops of war at the Hall of Flags, Massachusetts State House

(Original document available here)

Officers and Men of the United States Army.

In this room through which we are accustomed to pass with uncovered heads, you present to-day these flags which you have carried with so much credit to yourselves and your country and always to victory. These flags represent not only those who have borne and honored them, but those who may see them and be inspired by them in the years to come, not only those who gaze upon them now, but those who may gaze upon them with appreciation, as we do to-day.

We are here to welcome the return of these flags as a memorial of a momentous period in our history. These flags are to remain not only as a memento of the history which is made to-day, but as an earnest of the history which is to come. To-day you hear the voice of the Commonwealth in appreciation of the splendid service which you have rendered. It is a privilege to me to be here on this day, and extend the recognition of the Commonwealth for your patriotic achievements by which you have honored your State not only, but also your whole country. To-day it is a happy circumstance that you can represent America and the American spirit. It is worthy of the best in our past history.

I recall the lines of the poet:

Blest and thrice blest the Roman
Who sees Rome’s brightest day,
Who sees that long victorious pomp
Wind down the Sacred Way,
And through the bellowing Forum,
And round the Suppliant’s Grove,
Up to the everlasting gates
Of Capitolian Jove.

It is the true American spirit which you represent to-day and which you have illustrated and honored in the war.

I accept these colors in behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I accept them from you who have come back to us from the war where they were borne and honored. They will remind all in the future of the devotion of the sons of the Commonwealth, and they will be to all an inspiration to great achievements in the future.

Citation: Messages to the General Court, Official Addresses, Proclamations and State Papers of His Excellency Governor Calvin Coolidge

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Richard Link, who prepared this document for digital publication.

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