“The Golden Star” (1919)
On the front cover of this World War I dirge is the following inscription:
“Dedicated to Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt
In memory of the brave who gave their lives
That liberty shall not perish.”
Specifically, the march was composed in memory of Theodore Roosevelt and his son Quentin Roosevelt, who was killed in France. Sousa summed up his sentiments in an interview. “It will not be a monetary success. One cannot write from his heart and write for rewards. I was thinking of those fine young boys who will never return.”
The composition was heartily but seriously received immediately after the war but was dropped from the Sousa Band repertoire gradually as the nation returned to normal. “Taps” was included in one section of the march, and this brought about several sorrowful reactions from audiences. At one concert in Reno, Nevada, for instance, women burst into tears and the band could scarcely hear itself play.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 58. Used by permission.