“Flags of Freedom” (1918)
Sousa composed this march at the request of Joseph W. Gannon, Division of Associated Flags chairman of the Fourth Liberty Loan drive of World War I. Gannon asked Sousa to incorporate national airs of the twenty-one nations at war with Germany, but Sousa thought this impractical and decided upon five. The countries represented were Belgium, Italy, France, Great Britain, and America, in that order. In a letter to Gannon dated August 25, 1918, Sousa suggested that the march be royalty free. This would have made little difference, because it was written just at the war’s end and consequently sold very few copies.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 52. Used by permission.