Songs of the Greatest Generation

Dave has allowed me to publish my article here:

Songs of the Greatest Generation
By Carolynn Bauer Zorn

 Music classes are disappearing from the education system and with their exit, exposure to patriotic songs of the “Greatest Generation” is also disappearing.  Music is an integral part of the living history of our country and transports us to another time.

 Dave says our generation learned patriotic songs in school because we were born during or immediately after World War II and went to school at a time when the country was still euphoric with love of and pride in our military.  The “Greatest Generation” taught us their songs. It was pleasing to see First Lady Laura Bush singing the words of the military songs as each band marched by during her husband’s inaugural day parades.

 The recent conflicts requiring our troops overseas and the events of September 11th, remind us that patriotism is never obsolete. Check out the words below and join in singing when you attend the Memorial Day Parade in your community. Teach these songs to your kids and download the complete words and music on the web sites below.  (Note some of the songs are being updated to be gender neutral due to the increasing number of women serving in the armed forces today.)

 The Marine Corps hymn is the oldest official song in the United States Armed Forces.

Words and music Marine Corps available at:


 The Navy Song has two versions but the second verse of the second version is the one most sung. Words and music Navy:

 The words of the Army Theme Song, The Caissons Go Rolling Along, have been changed to “The Army goes rolling along,” because not many people today know what “caissons” are. Words and music for the Army Song available at:

 Music for the Air Force is available at:

 Lyrics for the Air Force Song available at:

 Words and music for the Coast Guard are available at:

  Here are the words for the most popular verses of these songs:

 Marine Corps Hymn

“From the Halls of Montezuma

To the Shores of Tripoli;

We fight our country’s battles

In air, on land and 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.”


Navy Song
Anchors Aweigh

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.


Army Theme Song
The Caissons Go Rolling Along

Over hill, over dale,

As we hit the dusty trail,

And those Caissons go rolling along.

In and out, hear them shout,

Counter march and right about

And those Caissons go rolling along! (Changed to Army goes rolling along)


Air Force Song

Off we go into the wild blue yonder,

Climbing high into the sun;

Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,

At’em 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!


Coast Guard Anthem
Semper Paratus (Always Ready) Chorus

We’re always ready for the call,

We place our trust in Thee.

Through howling gale and shot and shell,

To win our victory.

“Semper Paratus” is our guide,

Our pledge, our motto, too.

We’re “Always Ready,” do or die!

Aye! Coast Guard, we fight for you.