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"The President's Own"

The United States Marine Corps Band (The President's Own) marches during the 1997 presidential inaugural parade. Photo by NC1 Duncan Graham. Public domain.

You have heard them many times and listened with awe, but no band has been so much a part of our country's history as the U. S. Marine Corps Band. The band was started when President John Adams signed the Act of Congress on July 11, 1794. President and Mrs. Adams established the tradition of the band playing for the president when the band was invited to play for a reception New Year's Day 1801 at the uncompleted White House. Thomas Jefferson then established the tradition when he asked them to play for his inauguration and President Jefferson is credited with establishing the phrase "The President's Own." The band has played at every inauguration since then.

On October 1, 1880 John Philip Sousa was appointed leader of the band and many of the most famous marches were written by him, including "Semper Fidelis," the official march of the U.S. Marine Corps and "The Stars and Stripes Forever," which was written in 1896 and declared the Official March of the United States by Congress in 1987. To listen to "The Stars and Stripes Forever" played by the U.S. Marine Corps Band click, here.

The band's role in history continued when they accompanied President Lincoln to Gettysburg and at the dedication of the cemetery played the hymn "Old Hundred." When Winston Churchill came to Washington D.C. to encourage President Franklin Roosevelt to join the Allies in the fight, the band played the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

The band also has the task of participating in state funerals and marches in the processions for the funerals of former presidents.

Under President Benjamin Harrison, the band started the tradition of an annual National Tour. The tour occurs every year during late September to early November and is held in different regions of the country on a rotating schedule. This link will tell you when the band will be in your area next. More can be learned about the history of the band at MarineBand.Marines.mil.

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