Honor to the Flag

Honor to the Flag

The Bonnie Blue Flag; The Confederate Flag, Red, White & Blue; The Flag of Our Union;
The Flag of Secession; Freedom’s Banner; The Stars and Bars; The Stars and Stripes;
We’ll Follow the Flag 

The Star Spangled Banner had a profound influence on earlier generations’ appreciation of the American flag’s value as an inspiring and unifying national symbol. The Civil War expanded and intensified that patriotic attachment to the flag and fostered a spirit of reverence and devotion that would endure for generations. It became the primary icon of national identity and ideals, infused with meanings and memories from all sides of the conflict. Northerners saw the flag as a sacred emblem of the cause to defend the Union created by the founding fathers. Many black Americans saw the flag in a new light with the abolition of slavery, the opportunity to fight for the Union, and the promise of citizenship. The Southern Confederacy had rejected the “old flag” they had once loved and now viewed it as a symbol of a federal government lacking respect for their rights and as a threat to their way of life.

North and South set their own words the anthem. There was a Southern “Battle Cry of Freedom,” and a Northern “Bonnie Blue Flag.” They shared a musical idiom, but they had quite different ideas of “freedom” and “liberty,” as did blacks and whites. “The Stars and Bars” declare the superiority of the Confederate flag to that of the Union’s, which is said to be “The flag of the Tory and vile Northern scum.”

Civil War Ballads Gallery

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