The United States Navy Song- "Anchors Aweigh" April 13 2012, 1 Comment

Contributed by: Jack Kopstein Known the world wide as the song of the US Navy, Anchors Aweigh began its life as a request and became one of the most recognized naval marches in the world. Lt Charles A. Zimmermann USN, the composer, was the son of a bandsman of the US Naval Academy Band. His father had served in the band during the Civil War and Charles joined on July 1, 1882 as a third cornetist. In 1887, at the age of 26, he became the youngest ever to assume command of the Band. Early in his career, Zimmermann began his tradition of writing a march or class song for each graduating class of the Academy beginning with the class of 1892. In 1906 along with Midshipman First Class Alfred H. Miles composed this march for the class of 1907. Navy lore has that Zimmermann and Miles sat down at the Academy’s Chapel organ where Zimmerman composed the music and Miles chose the title and wrote the word of two stanzas. The title symbolizing not only a ship lifting its anchors to sail away but also that Senior Midshipmen would sail away to begin their Naval career. The song made its first public appearance on December 1, 1906 at the 1906 Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia’s Franklin Field. In those days the Army dominated the game, but the song proved so inspiring that the Navy football team won that game for the first time in several seasons by a score of Navy 10, Army 0. A tradition was born. The song was subsequently dedicated to the Class of 1907 at Annapolis. Miles graduated with the class and enjoyed a long career and retired from the Navy as a Captain. Zimmermann remained at Annapolis as the Naval Academy bandmaster until his death on January 16, 1916 at age 54. He was given a full military funeral with Midshipmen serving as pallbearers. Lt. Zimmermann is buried at the Naval Academy cemetery where a granite monument present for him was erected with the inscription by his Midshipmen Friends . But the story of Anchors Aweigh continues past the death of Lt. Zimmermann. Future stanzas were later added to the piece. In the 1920 period the lyrics were revised by George D. Lottman. It is this final stanza of the US Navy Song, Anchors Aweigh, which is best known: Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchor Aweigh, Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of the day-ay-ay-ay. Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam. Until we meet once more, Here’s wishing you a happy voyage home. Stand Navy down the field, Sails set to the sky, We'll never change our course, So Army you steer shy! Roll up the score, Navy, Anchors aweigh Sail Navy down the field And sink the Army, sink the Army Grey! Get under way, Navy, Decks cleared for, the fray, We’ll hoist true Navy Blue, So Army down your grey! Roll up the score, Navy, Army heave to, Furl Black and Grey and Gold And hoist the Navy, hoist the Navy Blue! Blue of the seven seas, Gold of God’s great sun, Let these our colors be Till all of time be done! By Severn shoe we learn Navy’s stern call: Faith, courage, service true, With honor over honor over all. Anchors Aweigh may be heard on these VERY SPECIAL Altissimo albums.  America's Bugle Calls is unique as it has all of the marches and songs of the United States Armed Forces. Great Marches Vol. 1 America's Bugle Calls Ceremonials (Digital Only on iTunes)