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EIU Teaching with Primary Sources

Patriotic Songs

Star spangled banner. National songs. 1854 


In honor of Veterans Day, EIU Teaching with Primary Sources took to the Library of Congress website and created this page to showcase the official tunes for the following branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

Those who have visited our site in the past know that we typically do not link directly to files, but refer visitors to the items home on the Library of Congress website.  For this special collection we will do this AND provide direct download links to copy the songs to a CD or your personal computer.  Instructions for saving songs for personal use can be found at the bottom of this page.




U.S. Air Force Song

(Verse One)
Off we go into the wild blue yonder
Climbing high into the sun
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder
At 'w, boys, Give 'er the gun! (Give 'er the gun now!)
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!

The U.S. Air Force song was the winning entry in a contest sponsored by Liberty Magazine. A committee of Air Corp wives selected the song written by Robert Crawford and was officially introduced in 1939. When the Army Air Corps became a separate entity of the military in 1947 the song name changed from "The Army Air Corps March" to "The U.S.Air Force March". 

Sheet Music - Title: Army air corps march. Composer: Crawford, Robert. Date Issued: 1940.
Audio - Title: Air Force Song [Off we go into the wild blue yonder]. Performer: United States Air Force Concert Band. Publisher: Department of the Air Force. Instrumental.
The U.S. Air Force Song - Library of Congress Patriotic Melodies Collection
Official U.S. Air Force Website  -Song Information  


Army Seal



The Army Goes Rolling Along

March along, sing our song, with the Army of the free.
Count the brave, count the true, who have fought to victory.
We're the Army and proud of our name!
We're the Army and proudly proclaim:

(First Chorus)
First to fight for the right,
And to build the Nation's might,
And the Army Goes Rolling Along.
Proud of all we have done,
Fighting till the battle's won,
And the Army Goes Rolling Along.

The U.S. Army also tried to find an official song through a contest in 1948.  Even after receiving more than 800 submissions, the Adjunct General's office chose the familiar "The Caisson Song" and retitled the song "The Army Goes Rolling Along." The song was originally written by field artillery First Lieutenant (later Brigadier General) Edmund L. Gruber in 1908.  It was transformed into a march in 1917 by John Philip Sousa. 

Audio - Title: Army goes rolling along. Performer: United States Army Ceremonial Band. Publisher: United States Army. Instrumental.
The Army Goes Rolling Along - Library of Congress Patriotic Melodies Collection
Official U.S. Army Website -Song Information





Semper Paratus

(First chorus - 1969 change to 1927 original)
We're always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through surf and storm and howling gale,
High shall our purpose be.
"Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our fame, our glory too.
To fight to save or fight to die,
Aye! Coast Guard, we are for you!

Another song selected through a contest became an anthem for a military branch.  The Coast Guard sponsored a song-search contest and original words and tune  composed by Captain Francis Saltus Van Boskerck, USCG in 1927 won.  Additional lyrics and changes were made to the song in 1943 and 1969.

Sheet Music- Title: Semper paratus. Composer: Boskerck, Francis Saltus van, Capt. Date Issued: 1938.
- Title: Semper paratus. Performer: United States Coast Guard Band, New London, CT. Publisher: MENC. Instrumental.
The U.S. Air Force Song - Library of Congress Patriotic Melodies Collection
Official U.S. Air Force Website -Song Information





Marines' Hymn

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country's battles
On the land as on the sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

While other songs have origins within contests, the Marines' hymn tune was spawned from Jacques Offenbach's comic opera Genevieve de Brabant.  Some lyrics were written to reflect Marine campaigns and traced to Colonel Henry C. Davis.  The first version was published in 1919 with an 1942 edit to the first verse.

Sheet Music- Title: Marines' hymn. Composer: Offenbach, J. Lyracist: Phyllips, L.Z. Date Issued: 1919.
- Title: The marines' hymn. Performer: United States Marine Band. Publisher: United States Marine Band. Instrumental.
Marines' Hymn - Library of Congress Patriotic Melodies Collection
Official U.S. Marine Corp Website -Song Information

Navy Seal


Anchor's Aweigh

(1920s revised lyrics)
Stand, Navy, out so sea. Fight our battle cry.
We'll never change our course. So vicious foe steer shy-y-y-y
Roll out the TNT. Anchors Aweigh. Sail on to victory.
And sink their bones to Davy Jones, hooray!

Anchors aweigh, my boys. Anchors aweigh.
Farewell to college joys, we said at break of day-ay-ay-ay
Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam,
Until we meet once more. Here's wishing you a happy voyage home.

 "Anchors Aweigh" began life as a catchy tune to rally the Naval Academy football team, sung for the first time at the Navy-Army 1906 game. Lieutenant CHarles Zimmermann, director of the Naval Academy Band copmosed the son's tune while Midshipman Alfred Miles penned the lyrics.  In the 1920s George Lottman revised the lyrics and it is Lottman's final verse that is most recognized. 

Audio - Title: Anchors aweigh. Performer: United States Navy Band. Publisher: Department of Defense. Instrumental.
Anchors aweigh 
- Library of Congress Patriotic Melodies Collection
Official U.S. Navy Website
-Song Information

To learn more about these and other patriotic songs visit the Library of Congress Patriotic Melodies website.

Images of military branch official seals were obtained from the U.S. Department of Vetrans Affairs website at


To save these audio files to your personal computer to burn to a CD or listen follow these directions:

1.  Right click on the name of each individual song below.
2.  Select SAVE TARGET AS from the popup menu
3.  Indicate where you want to save the file.
4.  Click SAVE
5.  Follow directions on your personal computer to burn the files to a CD or simply listen through your computer speaker. 

The U.S. Air Force from 

The Army Goes Rolling Along

Semper Paratus

The Marines' Hymn

Anchors Aweigh

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