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"Stars and Stripes Forever:" Song of the Day for June 14

United States Flag on a metal pole, fluttering in the wind

Every country needs a flashy flag. The fledgling United States was no different. On June 14, 1776 the Second Continental Congress took a break from writing the Articles of Confederation and approved the country’s first flag.

General George Washington commissioned the first attempt. That design was turned down because it looked too much like England’s flag.

Title The birth of Old Glory / from painting by Moran. Summary Print shows an interior view of a room with Betsy Ross and two young girls on the left, showing an American flag to George Washington standing at center, and three other men standing on the right, possibly the Hon. George Ross and Robert Morris, and an unidentified military officer. Names Murphy, Thos. D. (Thomas Dowler), 1866-1928, copyright claimant Moran, Percy, 1862-1935, artist Created / Published [Red Oak, Iowa] : [Thos. D. Murphy Co.], [1917]

Title

The birth of Old Glory / from painting by Moran.

Summary

Print shows an interior view of a room with Betsy Ross and two young girls on the left, showing an American flag to George Washington standing at center, and three other men standing on the right, possibly the Hon. George Ross and Robert Morris, and an unidentified military officer.

Names

Murphy, Thos. D. (Thomas Dowler), 1866-1928, copyright claimant
Moran, Percy, 1862-1935, artist

Created / Published

[Red Oak, Iowa] : [Thos. D. Murphy Co.], [1917]

The approved flag had 13 alternating red and white stripes, with 13 stars of equal size. 13 represented the number of colonies at the time. A new star was added as each new state was added.

 In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson set June 14 as Flag Day, though it’s not a national holiday.

Title Pres. Woodrow Wilson speaking outside of Treasury Dept., Flag Day, 1915 Created / Published 1915

Title

Pres. Woodrow Wilson speaking outside of Treasury Dept., Flag Day, 1915

Created / Published

1915

John Phillip Sousa wrote the Song of the Day “Stars and Stripes Forever” in 1896. After hearing about the death of his band’s manager, he composed the song in his head while returning to New York from Europe.

An illustrated sheet music cover for "The Stars and Stripes Forever," a song dedicated to the United States Volunteers by William J. Lemon. A figure representing the Constitution is shown wearing a Phrygian cap and holding a shield in her left hand and the American flag, topped by a laurel wreath, in her right. To her right is the American eagle, and at her left attributes, including a globe, a palette, and a lyre. She stands on a mound of earth marked "United States of America." A second eagle flies above her. The scene is accompanied by the following verse: The God of Battles smiled' Justice triumphed: / The Stars & Stripes, Columbia's Sacred Flag / Like Eagles pinions Fluttered to the breeze.
An illustrated sheet music cover for "The Stars and Stripes Forever," a song dedicated to the United States Volunteers by William J. Lemon. A figure representing the Constitution is shown wearing a Phrygian cap and holding a shield in her left hand and the American flag, topped by a laurel wreath, in her right. To her right is the American eagle, and at her left attributes, including a globe, a palette, and a lyre. She stands on a mound of earth marked "United States of America." A second eagle flies above her. The scene is accompanied by the following verse: The God of Battles smiled' Justice triumphed: / The Stars & Stripes, Columbia's Sacred Flag / Like Eagles pinions Fluttered to the breeze.

He wrote in his autobiography, “...absorbed in thoughts of my manager's death and the many duties and decisions which awaited me in New York. Suddenly, I began to sense a rhythmic beat of a band playing within my brain.

“Throughout the whole tense voyage, that imaginary band continued to unfold the same themes, echoing and re-echoing the most distant melody. I did not transfer a note of that music to paper while I was on the steamer, but when we reached shore, I set down the measures that my brain-band had been playing for me, and not a note of it has ever changed."

John Phillip Souza in 1922

He played the song at almost every concert for the next 25 years. In 1987, Congress named it the National March of the United States.

Song of the Day is created by Sheldon Zoldan, edited by Jared Gonzalez and produced by Pam James for WGCU. To receive the Song of the Day in your inbox every day, email shzoldan@comcast.net with the subject line ADD ME TO SOTD.