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The Stars and Stripes Forever Day – May 14, 2023

The Stars and Stripes Forever Day, observed on May 14, is celebrated to honor the American march of the same name written and composed by John Philip Sousa. It became the National March of the United States in 1987. A typical performance of the march begins with the four-bar introduction, after which comes the first and second ‘strains’ which are both repeated.

History of The Stars and Stripes Forever Day

According to a 1928 autobiography titled “Marching Along” by John Philip Sousa, ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ march was composed on Christmas Day in 1896. It was composed while Sousa was on his way home from a vacation in Europe, with his wife when he got the news of his band manager, David Blakely’s death. He later penned the notes on paper after he arrived back in the United States.

‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ march was first publicly performed at Willow Grove Park outside of Philadelphia, on May 14, 1897, and was met with ardent and zealous reception. In 1987, an act of the United States Congress made ‘The Stars and Stripes’ march the official national march of the United States of America. The march is widely regarded as the ‘Disaster March’ in entertainment and show business.

The early 20th century saw ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ march commonly used as a traditional code to signal emergencies in theaters. It would be used as a subtle notification to emergency personnel, allowing them to effectively marshall all exits without causing a stampede. A memorable example of the use of ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ march as an emergency signal was during the Hartford circus fire of July 6, 1944, which saw at least 168 people killed.

Celebrated to honor the American march of the same name written and composed by John Philip Sousa, it became the National March of the United States in 1987.

The Stars and Stripes Forever Day timeline

1896
‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ is Composed

‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ is composed by John Philip Sousa.

1897
First Public Performance of Stars and Stripes

‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ march is first publicly performed at Willow Grove.

1928
John Philip Sousa Releases his autobiography

John Philip Sousa’s autobiography, “Marching Along” is published.

1987
Official United States National March

‘The Stars and Stripes’ becomes the official national march.

The Stars and Stripes Forever Day FAQs

What is The Stars and Stripes Forever Day?

The Stars and Stripes Forever Day, observed on May 14 every year, is an American holiday in honor of the first public performance of ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever.’

When was ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ composed?

‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ march was composed in December 1896 according to John Philip Sousa, who mentioned it in his autobiography.

Why is ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ important?

‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ is the official national march song for the American Nation and one of the most famous patriotic songs in the United States. It is also a rousing march, performed at Fourth of July celebrations and played by marching bands in parades.

How to Observe The Stars and Stripes Forever Day

  1. Listen to ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’

    You can listen to ‘The Stars and Stripes’ march in celebration of Stars and Stripes Day. There’s a recorded version by Sousa’s band available on YouTube.

  2. Participate in the social media conversations

    You can post a video of yourself singing to the lyrics of ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever.’ Post to your social media using the #TheStarsAndStripesForeverDay hashtag.

  3. Watch the “Stars and Stripes Forever” biopic

    There is a biographical movie about John Philip Sousa titled “Stars and Stripes Forever.” You should definitely give it a watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

5 Facts About John Philip Sousa

  1. Military and music background

    John Philip Sousa was born close to a Marine barracks in Washington and his father was in the U.S. Marine Band.

  2. He was a Marine band conductor

    John Philip Sousa was a conductor in the Marine band and became its 17th leader in 1880.

  3. He composed the Marine march

    The Marine march, known as the ‘Semper Fidelis,’ was composed by John Philip Sousa in 1888.

  4. He was nicknamed ‘The March King’

    After writing and composing ‘The Washington Post’ in 1889, John Philip Sousa was nicknamed “The March King” by a British journalist.

  5. He made a late military comeback

    During World War I, John Philip Sousa joined the Naval Reserve, aged 62 years old.

Why The Stars and Stripes Forever Day is Important

  1. The Stars and Stripes symbolize patriotism

    We love the ‘Stars and Stripes’ because it inspires patriotism. Get your flags waving on this day.

  2. The lyrics are powerful

    The lyrics of ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ are simply powerful. For example, the strain where it says: “Hurrah for the flag of the free! May it wave as our standard forever ....” gives us goosebumps.

  3. It’s a part of American identity

    ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ is America’s official national march. It’s part of our cultural history.

The Stars and Stripes Forever Day dates

YearDateDay
2023May 14Sunday
2024May 14Tuesday
2025May 14Wednesday
2026May 14Thursday
2027May 14Friday

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