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In 1974, Johnny Cash released what would go on to become one of the most meaningful songs of his career. Titled “Ragged Old Flag,” the patriotic tune was released as the only single off of Cash’s album of the same name.
Following the Watergate scandal, Cash wanted to do something to pay tribute to and revive patriotism in the country. That’s when he ended up writing “Ragged Old Flag,” which he recorded as a spoken word piece.
The song wasn’t a major hit for Cash, but it did manage to climb into the Top 50 on the country chart. Its popularity has increased in the passing decades, making it a frequently-played song around the Fourth of July and other holidays.
In 2017, the song served as the backdrop to a patriotic tribute that aired before the Super Bowl.
A clip from a 1990 concert with the Highwaymen shows Cash delivering one of the best performances of his life with “Ragged Old Flag.” He started off by sharing just how much he loved the United States:
“Of all the places we’ve been overseas, it don’t matter where, when we come back to this country we love it a whole lot more than when we left and went somewhere else. I thank God for all the freedoms we’ve got in this country. I cherish them.”
Once he finished his introduction, Cash started reciting “Ragged Old Flag” without missing a beat. His performance bled red, white, and blue, as he spoke to the audience with great passion in his voice.
The performance reached a powerful conclusion, as Cash proclaimed loud and clear for all to hear, “On second thought, I do like to brag. Cause I’m mighty proud of that ragged old flag.”
People in the crowd flew to their feet as they rewarded Cash with thunderous rounds of cheers and applause. We feel that he was 100% deserving of such a response.
Check out Cash’s extraordinary performance of “Ragged Old Flag” in the clip below.
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