header image

Selected verses from a poem by Major Joseph Mills Hanson of the Historical Branch of the Headquarters Division of the A. E. F., inspired by the sight of the "Stars and Stripes" floating over the German Fortress, during his first visit to the American Bridgehead.
Between its crag-ribbed summits
And ruined castles gray,
Between its clambering vineyards
And orchards white with May,
The rushing Rhine roils seaward
And, hard by Coblenz town,
A flag on Ehrenbreitstein
Upon that tide looks down.

Its stripes of white and crimson
Are blazoned forth on high:
Its starry field of azure
Seems part of God's own sky;
By winds that touched his eagles
When Caesar's legions came
The flag on Ehrenbreitstein
Is fanned to rippling flame.
What make ye of that banner
Ye folk of Coblenz town?
What think ye of the field guns
That from the ramparts frown?
And know ye all the meaning
Of the blue and red and white
That waves from Ehrenbreitstein
And read ye it aright?

Saint George's cross is floating
O'er the spires of Cologne,
Above the roofs of Mayence
The Tricolor is flown,
But now between them flutters
Fair freedom's final sign—
The New World's starry banner
Above the German Rhine.

Because ye dreamed that terror
Could stay the arm of right;
That steel was more than honor
And justice less than might,
Our strong-limbed Western legions
Have put your hosts to rout
And set on Ehrenbreitstein
The flag ye dared to flout.

We take no meed of vengance;
Nor gold nor gear nor crust;
Ye dared us to the combat
And we stretched ye in the dust.
But touch no more our sister
Whose lord ye hoped to be,
And goad no more our brother
Of the islands of the sea.

Of you creed of blood and iron
The world has had surcease;
Mankind is over-weary,
To walk its ways in peace.
Lift up your eyes, ye people;
Mark well that high-flung sign;
The flag on Ehrenbreitstein
Above the German Rnine.
Copyright by The Keystone View Company
Last Update: 06/18/2017 9:13 AM Sitemap Search this Site ©2002-2017 MG Ryder & Contributors