VA -- Quantico -- Natl Museum of the Marine Corps -- Gallery: Global Expeditionary Force (1866-1916) -- President's Own:
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MCMMUS_130210_01.JPG: Capturing the Hearts of Americans:
"Marine regiment ordered to Mexico... will sail at once from Philadelphia."
-- New York Times, 22 April 1914
The tendency of American presidents to order Marines ashore in the so-called "Small Wars" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries reflected the spirit of the times -- an expanding nation pursuing a two-fisted foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere. Sending in the readily available Marines was a convenient policy decision. Their fleet base conveyed the impression of a temporary lodgment (foothold or beachhead), whereas deploying the US Army would have been seen as an act of war. The marines benefited from the public exposure. Newspaper accounts of their colorful and successful exploits appealed to Americans and made possible the growth of the Corps into a modern force.
Additionally, the precision drill and foot-tapping music of formal parades and reviews, staged flawlessly by the renowned Marine Band, added to a luster that led the country to embrace their Marine Corps as a population national institution.
MCMMUS_130210_08.JPG: The President's Own:
"The Marine Band is eminently the national band of the country."
-- Washington newspaper report, 1873
Established by Congress in 1798, the Marine Band received the title "The President's Own" from newly inaugurated Thomas Jefferson in 1801, leading to more than two centuries of stirring White House performances. At first, the Corps recruited musicians from Italy, then accepted boys as young as 12 as apprentices. Under the inspired direction of John Philip Sousa from 1880 to 1892, the Band blossomed into one of the most recognizable and beloved of American ensembles. Millions of Americans hear the Band every year and thrill to Hail to the Chief played by Marines immediately after the swearing-in ceremony at each presidential inauguration.
MCMMUS_130210_10.JPG: Parades and Concerts:
"A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums, a flash of color beneath the sky. Hats off! The flag is marching by."
-- Henry Holcomb Bennett, The Flag Goes By, circa 1900
The Marine Band's mission is to provide music for the President and the Commandant. During the mid-1800s, Commandant Archibald Henderson began the tradition of opening the Marine Barracks in Washington, DC (the Corps' oldest post), to the public for Sunday concerts. The tradition continues at evening parades where the Band, Drum and Bugle Corps, and Silent Drill Platoon electrify onlookers. They have become a universal symbol of the competence, discipline, and spirit of the Corps.
MCMMUS_130210_16.JPG: Public Esteem:
"American Marines Praised... in China."
-- New York Times, 5 October 1900
The Marines' rapid deployment to Cuba early in the Spanish-American War, followed by short-fused expeditions to China and the Philippines, won accolades for the Corps and created high expectations for future foreign crises. A similar quick reaction at the Vera Cruz in 1914 reinforced the popular notion of Marines as the first-response team.
Charismatic leaders made good copy. Marines like Smedley Butler, "Handsome Jack" Myers, Dan Daly, and John Quick became familiar figures in American hometown newspapers.
Close behind the fighting Marines came their band, sharp and melodious, always in the public eye and earning wide acclaim.
MCMMUS_130210_47.JPG: Marines in the Headlines:
"Marines gain a victory. Wade a river to their shoulders to take Filipino Forts."
-- New York Times, 9 October 1899
The American public came to expect accounts of Marines in the headlines during moments of crisis. The country read on the front pages of their daily newspapers about Leatherneck accomplishments in China ("Marines Off to China"), Mexico ("800 Marines Leave for Vera Cruz"), or other exotic climes ("Haitians Slay Their President; We Land Marines"). The heightened profile helped the Corps proved its usefulness, and brought in the recruits necessary to fulfill an expanding mission.
MCMMUS_130210_52.JPG: John Philip Sousa:
"Your marches are like the American people -- full of fire, brilliance, and sentiment."
-- Queen Alexandra of England, to Sousa, 1901
Sousa, the son of a Marine bandsman, became the Director of the Marine Band in 1880 at the age of 25. As Bandmaster under five presidents, he turned the Marine Band into a nationally recognized hallmark and launched a career that made him the country's most famous bandleader. Composition of stirring tunes such as Stars and Stripes Forever and Semper Fidelis earned Sousa the title "The March Kind." Later he admitted, "Marches are... my musical children."
MCMMUS_131221_19.JPG: In April 1891, with the permission of President Benjamin Harrison, the Marine Band begins its first concert tour. This photograph of the Band with John Philip Sousa was taken during that tour in Cape May, NJ.
MCMMUS_131221_22.JPG: Under Santelmann's direction, the Band's schedule became very demanding. Concerts, like this one photographed on 16 July 1921, were held on the White House grounds every Saturday afternoon.
MCMMUS_131221_25.JPG: This photograph shows the interior of Band Hall at the Marine barracks in Washington, DC, home of the Band since 1801. John Philip Sousa wrote many of his famous marches here.
MCMMUS_131221_35.JPG: The Marine Band was photographed with William H. Santelmann, who was named director on 3 March 1898. A strict disciplinarian, he remained director until May 1927.
MCMMUS_131221_45.JPG: First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy attended the annual Congressional Wives Luncheon on 3 May 1962. She was photographed with LtCol Albert F. Shoepper, who directed the Band from 1955 through 1972.
MCMMUS_131221_48.JPG: The Marine Band was photographed in Albany, NY, in 1888. That same year Sousa wrote Semper Fidelis, dedicated to the officers and men of the United States Marine Corps.
MCMMUS_131221_56.JPG: LtCol Dale Harpham conducted the band from 1972 through 1974. He is seen here with President Richard M. Nixon, who said, "I have never failed to be proud of this splendid musical organization."
MCMMUS_131221_60.JPG: On 31 May 1979, LtCol Jack Kline passed the baton to Maj John Bourgeois. Kline had joined the band in 1947 as a clarinetist. He received his commission in 1968 and became director in 1974.
MCMMUS_131221_64.JPG: LtCol John Bourgeois, conducting the Marine Band orchestra, greeted President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan at an evening function. Bourgeois' career as director spanned nine presidential administrations.
MCMMUS_131221_67.JPG: During February 1990, the Marine Band toured five cities in the Soviet Union. It was the only American military band to tour the USSR prior to its transformation into independent states.
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