Feb. 3, 2015 --
February’s March of the Month audio download celebrates liberty and honors the relationship between the United States and France during the Revolutionary War. John Philip Sousa composed “Hail to the Spirit of Liberty” in 1900 for the Paris Exposition. The Lafayette monument, draped in an American flag, was unveiled to the tune of Sousa’s march “Hail to the Spirit of Liberty,” composed specifically for the event. At this time, Sousa was leading his own band and the group traveled to France—the group’s first trip overseas—to perform at the grand occasion. During the exposition, a statue of Major General Marquis Gilbert de Lafayette was unveiled following an American effort to honor the French military officer. Sousa was thrilled to represent the United States and the connection to Lafayette was not lost on him. Lafayette was a wealthy and noble military family, and at Benjamin Franklin’s urging was approved to lead troops in the Continental Army as America sought its independence from Britain. The general had a close friendship with George Washington and was assisted by Thomas Jefferson in writing the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen for the Republic of France.
Download “Hail to the Spirit of Liberty”
Director Col. Michael J. Colburn, USMC (ret.) conducted the Marine Band’s performance of “Hail to the Spirit of Liberty” during Wolf Trap’s Summer Blast Off! on May 25, 2014, at Filene Center, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Va.