I got volunteered for singing with a group at an outdoor July 4 sort of thing. (I left the room to visit the ladies’ lounge. Don’t do that during a committee meeting. I know better, but Nature had other plans. Anyway.) Part of it includes singing the five service anthems. The setting uses the almost-latest versions, some of which do not match the texts I learned.
Since I learned all five from WWII veterans, some of the changes rank down there with some of the changes made to hymns, in my opinion. Others just make me blink a few times.
The expansion of the Army song from just the field artillery to include everyone else makes sense, although I still default to “When the Caissons go Rolling Along” as the version I usually sing unless pressed for the later edition. The Army still needs ammunition and things that make it go boom, yes? Which is what was on those caissons. And counter-marching is still something done, although not quite the same way or as often.
Since we’re not in a place of worship, or around people who will fuss, “down with one/ hell ofa roar,” remains intact in the Air Force song. However, I keep wanting to sing, “Nothing can stop the Army Air Corps,” because that’s how the WWII guys sang it, and still sing it. First learned, first remembered and all of that. [Omits DadRed’s rant about the Air Force needing to be returned to the Army].
No one had the nerve to mess with the Marine Corps “hymn,” although we don’t do the last verse about “when the Army and the Navy look on heaven’s golden scenes/ They will find the gates are guarded by United States Marines.” I can’t imagine why that verse is omitted. *does best to look innocent* Or the version where it is “If the Army and the Air Force . . .” No rivalry there, no, none at all.
“Anchors Aweigh” also got left alone this time. I had to do one version that made zero sense, and it turned out that some well-meaning-soul had attempted to “correct” the words. Ah, no, they didn’t need correction. Even so, it was a better text flow than what I’ve seen done to “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” (the Navy hymn). I was delighted to sing in a church where the preacher was a Navy vet who insisted that we do the real words, not the supposedly inclusive but quite toothless version in that church’s hymnal.
The Coast Guard’s “Semper Paratus” got reverted back to the original, perhaps in order to remove the WWII-era references to combat. *facepaw* Sorry, Coasties. I assure you that I was singing the other phrases under my breath, even though I’ll stick with what’s on the music for the actual performance. Yes, the men and women of the Coast Guard get shot at, and have been shot at, especially during WWII and a few other conflicts of note. They do a lot more than rescue people, although that’s what the first words focus on.