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Tennessee State Flag Tennessee

Tennessee State Poem

Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee
by Vice-Admiral William Lawrence

   Oh Tennessee, my Tennessee
   What love and pride I feel for thee.
   You proud ole state, the volunteer,
   Your proud traditions I hold dear.

   I revere your heroes
   Who bravely fought our country's foes.
   Renowned statesmen, so wise and strong,
   Who served our country well and long.

   I thrill at thoughts of mountains grand;
   Rolling green hills and fertile farm land;
   Earth rich with stone, mineral and ore;
   Forests dense and wild flowers galore;

   Powerful rivers that bring us light;
   Deep lakes with fish and fowl in flight;
   Thriving cities and industries;
   Fine schools and universities;

   Strong folks of pioneer descent,
   Simple, honest, and reverent.
   Beauty and hospitality
   Are the hallmarks of Tennessee.

   And o'er the world as I may roam,
   No place exceeds my boyhood home.
   And oh how much I long to see
   My native land, my Tennessee.
The official Tennessee Poem, "Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee", by Vice-Admiral William P. Lawrence, was adopted in 1973. This poem was composed by William Lawrence, in his head, while held in solitary confinement in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. During the Vietnam War, Lawrence spent almost six years as a prisoner of war (POW) at the infamous Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton).

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