By Patricia L Johnson
October 13, 2014 will be the 239th birthday of the United States Navy.
Click to listen to Anchors Aweigh played by the U.S. Navy Band.
Do you know what the words ‘Anchors Aweigh’ means? A ships anchor is ‘aweigh’ when it is pulled up from the bottom of the body of water and this action is then recorded in the ship’s log.
Anchors Aweigh became the official song of the U.S. Navy in 1907. The music was composed by Lieut. Charles A. Zimmerman, USN, and bandmaster of the Naval Academy Band. Each year Zimmerman would compose a new march for each graduating class. In 1906 Midshipman First Class Alfred Hart Miles, a member of the Class of 1907, expressed to Zimmerman the wishes of his classmates to have a march composed that would be “inspiring, one with a swing so it could be used as a football marching song, and one that would live forever.”
Zimmerman and Miles worked together and while Zimmerman composed the music, Miles wrote the Title and the first two stanzas in November of 1906. Later that month the march was played at the 1906 Army-Navy football game and after many seasons of losses, Navy won! The march was dedicated to the Academy Class of 1907 and eventually adopted as the official U.S. Navy song.
The original lyrics for the the first two verses as written by Midshipman Miles are as follows:
Stand Navy down the field, sails set to the sky.
We’ll never change our course, so Army you steer shy-y-y-y.
Roll up the score, Navy, Anchors Aweigh.
Sail Navy down the field and sink the Army, sink the Army Grey.
Get underway, Navy, Decks cleared for the fray,
We’ll hoist true Navy Blue So Army down your Grey-y-y-y.
Full speed ahead, Navy; Army heave to,
Furl Black and Grey and Gold and hoist the Navy, hoist the Navy Blue
A third verse was added by Midshipman Royal Lovell, Class of 1926 was written as follows:
Blue of the Seven Seas; Gold of God’s great sun
Let these our colors be Till all of time be done-n-n-ne,
By Severn shore we learn Navy’s stern call:
Faith, courage, service true With honor over, honor over all.
Stand Navy out to sea,
Fight our battle cry;
We’ll never change our course,
So vicious foe steer shy-y-y-y.
Roll out the TNT,
Sail on to victory
And sink their bones to Davy Jones, hooray!
Anchors Aweigh, my boys,
Farewell to foreign shores,
We sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay.
Through our last night ashore,
Drink to the foam,
Until we meet once more.
Here’s wishing you a happy voyage home.
Blue of the mighty deep:
Gold of God’s great sun.
Let these our colors be
Till all of time be done, done, done, done.
On seven seas we learn
Navy’s stern call:
Faith, courage, service true,
With honor, over honor, over all.
Lieut. Zimmerman suffered a brain hemorrhage in 1916, at the age of 54, and was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery. His years of devotion to the Naval Academy did not go unnoticed and later his body was moved from St. Mary’s cemetery to the Naval Academy cemetery, where a granite monument had been erected in his name. This monument was a gift from the Naval classes of 1916 and 1917.
© 2014 Patricia L Johnson