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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.[1] 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.

Contents

History

Some of the lyrics were popular phrases before the song was written. The line "To the shores of Tripoli" 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 Chapultepec, during the Mexican-American War, where a force of Marines stormed Chapultepec Castle.

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 Paris in 1859. Correspondence between Colonel Albert S. McLemore and Walter F. Smith (the second leader of the Marine Band) traces the tune:

Major Richard Wallach, USMC, says that in 1878, when he was in Paris, France, the aria to which the Marines' Hymn is now sung was a very popular one.

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

Major Wallach is to be congratulated upon a wonderfully accurate musical memory, for the aria of the Marine Hymn is certainly to be found in the opera, 'Genevieve de Brabant'... The melody is not in the exact form of the Marine Hymn, but is undoubtedly the aria from which it was taken. I am informed, however, by one of the members of the band, who has a Spanish wife, that the aria was one familiar to her childhood and it may, therefore, be a Spanish folk song.

John Philip Sousa once wrote:

The melody of the 'Halls of Montezuma' is taken from Offenbach's comic opera, 'Genevieve de Brabant' and is sung by two gendarmes.

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.[2]

Lyrics

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From the Halls of Montezuma,
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:[3]

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

Football Songs

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 Wear
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

The Manchester United verision is:

From the banks of the River Irwell To the shores of Sicily, We will fight, fight, fight for United 'Till we win the Football League...

To hell with Liverpool, To hell with Man City - (They're shit!) We will fight, fight, fight for United 'Till we win the Football League

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to The Marines' Hymn article)

From Wikisource

The Marines' Hymn
The Marines' hymn is the official hymn of the United States Marine Corps. It is often also referred to as "The Marine Corps' Hymn". It is the oldest official song in the U.S. Armed Forces. The song has an obscure origin—the words date from the 19th century, but no one knows the author. The music is from the opera Geneviève de Brabant by Jacques Offenbach, which had its début in Paris in 1859. The Marine Corps secured a copyright on the song on August 19, 1919, but it is now in the public domain.Excerpted from Marines' hymn on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

See also:

From the halls of Montezuma
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 Marines

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 the
United States Marines


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