The Stars and Stripes Forever

Today in History, May 14: 1897 – In Willow Grove Park, Philadelphia, “The Stars and Stripes Forever”, composed by John Phillip Sousa, is first performed in public. As of 1987 it is now the official US March of the United States of America. The tune, and the lyrics Sousa attached to it has to touch every truly American soul.

Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears ‘mid thunderous,
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.

[Second Strain]
Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom’s nation.

(repeats) Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom’s nation.

[Trio]
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.

[Repeat of the First Strain]
Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.

[Grandioso]
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 Dawes Commission in Indian Territory

Today in History, April 28: 1897 – The Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes, two of the five civilized tribes, agree to relinquish communal control of their lands after being convinced to do so by the Dawes Commission. The Dawes Act had previously ruled that other tribes must give up their lands and adapt to white customs, but the five civilized tribes were exempt; an 1830 treaty gave them control of their lands as long as the grass grows and the rivers run. Soon after convincing the Chickasaws and the Choctaws to give up the rights to their lands, the other civilized tribes followed suit, resulting in most of their land being given to settlers, including in the Sooner’s land run. In FDR’s administration the five civilized tribes would be given back the control over some of their lands, but the damage had been done.