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The "Marines' Hymn" is the official hymn of the United States Marine Corps. It is the oldest official song in the United States military. The "Marines' Hymn" is typically sung at the position of attention as a gesture of respect. However, the third verse is also used as a toast during formal events, such as the birthday ball and other ceremonies.

History

Some of the lyrics were popular phrases before the song was written. The line "To the shores of Tripolimarker" refer to the First Barbary War, and specifically the Battle of Derne in 1805. After Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon and his Marines hoisted the American flag over the Old World for the first time, the phrase was added to the battle colors of the Corps. "The Halls of Montezuma" refers to the Battle of Chapultepecmarker, during the Mexican-American War, where a force of Marines stormed Chapultepec Castlemarker.

While the words date from the 19th century, the author of the song itself is unknown. Anecdotal evidence supposes it was penned by a Marine on duty in Mexico. The unknown author transposed the phrases in the motto on the Colors so that the first two lines of the Hymn would read: "From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli," favoring euphony over chronology.

The music is from the Gendarmes' Duet from the opera Geneviève de Brabant by Jacques Offenbach, which debuted in Parismarker in 1859. Correspondence between Colonel Albert S. McLemore and Walter F. Smith (the second leader of the Marine Band) traces the tune:

The name of the opera and a part of the chorus was secured from Major Wallach and forwarded to Mr. Smith, who replied:

John Philip Sousa once wrote:

The Marine Corps secured a copyright on the song on 19 August 1891, but has since expired and is now in the public domain. In 1929, the Commandant of the Marine Corps authorized the three verses of the Marines' Hymn as the official version, but changed the third and fourth lines:

Pre-1929 version Authorized change
Admiration of the nation,
we're the finest ever seen;
And we glory in the title
Of United States Marines.


First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.




This older version can be heard in the 1950 film Halls of Montezuma. On 21 November 1942, Commandant Thomas Holcomb approved a change in the words of the first verse's fourth line from "On the land as on the sea" to "In the air, on land, and sea" to reflect the addition of aviation to the Corp's arsenal.

Lyrics

From the Halls of Montezumamarker,

To the shores of Tripoli;

We fight our country's battles

In the air, on land, and sea;

First to fight for right and freedom

And to keep our honor clean;

We are proud to claim the title

Of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze

From dawn to setting sun;

We have fought in every clime and place

Where we could take a gun;

In the snow of far-off Northern lands

And in sunny tropic scenes;

You will find us always on the job

The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps

Which we are proud to serve;

In many a strife we've fought for life

And never lost our nerve;

If the Army and the Navy

Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;

They will find the streets are guarded

By United States Marines.

Extra verses

Various people over the years wrote unofficial or semi-unofficial extra verses to commemorate later battles and actions, for example, this verse commemorating the occuption of Iceland during World War II:

Again in 1941, we sailed a north'ard course
and found beneath the midnight sun, the Viking and the Norse.
The Icelandmarker girls were slim and fair, and fair the Iceland scenes,
and the Army found in landing there, the United States Marines.


In Australia

The Pride of South Australia, the theme song of the Adelaide Crows Australian rules football side in the Australian Football League, is sung to the tune of the Marines' Hymn.

Soccer Song

The song has also been adapted as a British football chant. One such version is sung by fans of Sunderland A.F.C., and has the following lyrics:

From the banks of the River Wearmarker
To the shores of Sicily
We will fight, fight, fight for Sunderland
To win The Football League
To hell with Man. United
To hell with Liverpool
We will fight, fight, fight for Sunderland
To win the Football League


References

  1. http://www.usmcgals.com/hymn.htm


External links




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