For his 2020 Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM Awards) performance, Entertainer of the Year nominee Eric Church preceded "Stick That in Your Country Song" with a homage to Johnny Cash's timeless (and timely) narration of "Ragged Old Flag."
The crowdless Grand Ole Opry House, limited to essential workers because of COVID-19, felt even more like sacred ground as Cash's poem about the American flag built anticipation for Church's musical challenge of the Nashville status quo.
When it came time for Church to perform his own song, he delivered the goods. As usual, so did his backup singer, Joanna Cotten.
It was a special moment in a night filled with special performances by Mickey Guyton, Taylor Swift, Tenille Townes, Gabby Barrett, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Riley Green, Maren Morris, Old Dominion, Kane Brown, Morgan Wallen, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Kelsea Ballerini, Tim McGraw, Trisha Yearwood and others.
This year's CBS broadcast aired on Sept. 16. It took place in Nashville for the first time ever, with performances hosted at the Ryman Auditorium, the Bluebird Cafe and the Grand Ole Opry House.
"Ragged Old Flag" Lyrics
I walked through a county courthouse square
On a park bench an old man was sitting there
I said, your old courthouse is kinda run down
He said, naw, it'll do for our little town
I said, your old flagpole has leaned a little bit
And that's a ragged old flag you got hanging on it
He said, have a seat, and I sat down
Is this the first time you've been to our little town?
I said, I think it is
He said, I don't like to brag
But we're kinda proud of that ragged old flag
You see, we got a little hole in that flag there when
Washington took it across the Delaware
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing say can you see
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seams
And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the texas flag, but she waved on though
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg
And the south wind blew hard on that ragged old flag
On Flanders field in World War one
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun
She turned blood red in World War Two
She hung limp and low a time or two
She was in Korea and Vietnam
She went where she was sent by Uncle Sam
She waved from our ships upon the Briny foam
And now they've about quit waving her back here at home
In her own good land here she's been abused
She's been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused
And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land
And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin
But she's in good shape for the shape she's in
'Cause she's been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more
So we raise her up every morning
We take her down every night
We don't let her touch the ground and we fold her up right
On second thought, I do like to brag
'Cause I'm mighty proud of that ragged old flag
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