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Stars and Stripes Forever

One of my favorite aspects of Independence Day celebrations is the music you hear and the instant thrust it can have upon us. One song, written over 100 years ago, that can still evoke such a strong emotion, is none other than the “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa. Just hearing it conjures up images of flags and fireworks. Tell me if you agree, but I have a difficult time listening to that song without feeling really patriotic.

Sousa wrote this march in 1896 while on a ship returning to the United States from Europe, and it became our nation’s national march in 1987. Sousa had many other notable compositions such as “The Washington Post,” “Semper Fidelis,” the official march of the Marines (which Sousa was a member of for many years), and “The Liberty Bell,” which fans of Monty Python would recognize as the theme of the Flying Circus. But it’s the “Stars and Stripes” that still stands out at this time of year.

One very interesting note about Sousa is that he was not a proponent of having his music recorded in his day. Fortunately, however, many people the world over have enjoyed his marches in many forms during the last 122 years!

So while listening to the cymbals clash and the horns rise, let’s appreciate all that America stands for and have a very safe and enjoyable Independence Day! Here’s the link to the song on YouTube for your enjoyment.

Tom Hamilton more

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