Patriotic Music for National Holidays, Pt. 1

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about patriotic music.  Music has always been used to motivate and inspire soldiers and warriors.  I was surprised to learn to that bagpipes were played as soldiers went into battle, hundreds of years ago.

An article by Gordon Kinnie states that:

“As a musical instrument of war the PIOB MHOR is without equal. The shrill and penetrating notes worked well in the roar and din of battle. Pipes have reportedly been heard at distances over six miles, and under favorable conditions at ten miles. (I know for a fact that my pipes have been heard at a distance over two miles away.) There is nothing improbable in the statement that the pipes were played at Bannockburn, in 1314, though historical evidence is not available to support the fact. Clan Menzies states that there pipers and bards urged the clans to victory at this battle. At the great clan fight on the North Inch of Perth in 1396, “Clans stalked into the barriers to the sound of their great warpipes.” Clan Chatten maintains that their piper was wounded during the fight and after dispatching his foe gathered his pipes and played the clan to victory before succumbing to his wounds. The chanter he used became known as the “Black Chanter.”

It is said that at the Battle of Harlow in 1411 the Highland army charged to the sound of the pipes and in 1431, at the Battle of Inverlochy, the pipes were again in evidence.

It is on record that the piper of Jedburgh played his pipes in support of the Scottish Army at the battle of Flodden in 1513.”

In the United States, the fife and drums were more typical and many Revolutionary Era painting show the musicians marching into battle.  What makes these instruments uniquely suited to battle?  Many would say that they have a piercing quality that stirs the heart and soul and creates energy in the body.  Music does that.

For those that are left behind, song after song has been written to comfort the loved ones and inspire confidence in the troops.  Read the words of one of my favorites, “Columbia the Gem of the Ocean.”

Britannia, the pride of the ocean,
The home of the brave and the free,
The shrine of the sailor’s devotion,
No land can compare to thee.
Thy mandates make heroes assemble
With Victory’s bright laurels in view;
Thy banners make tyranny tremble
When borne by the red, white, and blue.

O, Columbia! the gem of the ocean,
The home of the brave and the free,
The shrine of each patriot’s devotion,
A world offers homage to thee.
Thy mandates make heroes assemble
When Liberty’s form stands in view;
Thy banners make tyranny tremble
When borne by the Red, White and Blue

With Memorial Day at the end of May, the 4th of July, and then Labor Day in Spetember, now is a great time to learn some new patriotic songs and enjoy them all summer.  Maybe it will even help our country to bond together a little bit more?

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.