A Patriotic Creed

by Derrick G. Jeter

In 1918, as American “Dough Boys” were bleeding and dying in Europe during the First World War, Edgar A. Guest published a collection of poetry in a book titled, Over Here. After the war, his collection was reissued in 1922 under a different title, Poems of Patriotism. As we approach Memorial Day, we would do well to stir our memories of how God blessed we in America have been these many years. Much of that blessing coming through the selfless service of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. It is to them that Guest dedicated his book, including the following poem.

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To serve my country day by day
At any humble post I may;
To honor and respect her Flag.
To live the traits of which I brag;
To be American in deed
As well as in my printed creed.

To stand for truth and honest toil,
To till my little patch of soil
And keep in mind the debt I owe
To them who died that I might know
My country, prosperous and free,
And passed this heritage to me.

I must always in trouble’s hour
Be guided by the man in power;
For God and country I must live,
My best for God and country give;
No act of mine that men may scan
Must shame the name American.

To do my best and play my part,
American in mind and heart;
To serve the flag and bravely stand
To guard the glory of my land;
To be American in deed,
God grant me strength to keep this creed. [1]

[1] Edgar A. Guest, “A Patriotic Creed,” in Poems of Patriotism (Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1922), 40.

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