Jul 2, 2017 - By Steven R. Peck, PublisherChristmas and Easter lead the list of American holidays set to music, but the Fourth of July has its hit parade as well. Best known of the patriotic songs linked to our nation's great patriotic holiday is the rousing military march "The Stars and Stripes Forever."
The lore surrounding its famous composer, John Philip Sousa (yes, just one "l" in his version of "Philip), says Sousa composed the march on Christmas Day in 1896, while sailing for home on a cruise ship. It may well be the piece of music more familiar to Americans than any other.
Plus, it's got words.
The instrumental sound of Sousa's famous intro, verse, trio and concluding chorus are permanent fixtures in the American mind, but the words he wrote for the song are rarely heard and largely forgotten.
Keep the tune in mind as you read Sousa's lyrics to the first verse and rousing conclusion:
Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom's shield and hope.
(Now the chorus)
Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.
The newspaper office will be closed on Tuesday for Independence Day.
Happy holiday, and rally 'round the flag.
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