Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
      Daniel P. Sullivan Council 10208
    Fr. Victor A. Bieberle Assembly 2316
Stars and Stripes Forever was composed by John Philip Sousa on Christmas day 1896. John
Philip Sousa (November 6, 1854 - March 6, 1932) was an American composer and conductor of
the late Romantic era, known primarily for American military and patriotic marches. Because of
his mastery of march composition, he is known as “The March King” or the “American March
King” due his British counterpart Kenneth J .A Alford also being known as “The March King”.
The Stars and Stripes Forever is the official March of the United States of America (US Code,
Title 36 Chapter 10).

Surprisingly the patriotic march was written not in the aftermath of a great battle, but on an
ocean liner as Sousa and his wife were returning from a European vacation. In late 1896, they
were at sea when word came that the manager of the Sousa Band, David Blakely, had died

Sousa tells this story in his autobiography:
Here came one of the most vivid incidents of my career. As the vessel (the Teutonic) steamed
out of the harbor, I was pacing on the deck, absorbed in thoughts of my manager’s death, and
the many duties and decisions which awaited me in New York. Suddenly, I began to sense a
rhythmic beat of a band playing within my brain. Throughout the whole tense voyage, that
imaginary band continued to unfold the same themes, echoing and re-echoing the most distinct
melody. I did not transfer a note of that music to paper while I was on the steamer, but when we
reached shore, I set down the measures that my brain-band had been playing for me, and not a
note of it has ever changed.
A little over 238 years ago, on January 1, 1776, the Continental Army was reorganized in accordance with a Congressional resolution that placed American forces under George Washington's control. On that New Year's Day the Continental Army was laying siege to Boston,which had been taken over by the British Army.

Washington ordered the Grand Union flag hoisted above his base at Prospect Hill. It had 13 alternate red and white stripes and the British Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner.

In May of 1776, Betsy Ross reported that she sewed the first American flag.

On June 14, 1777, in order to establish an official flag for the new nation, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act: "Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."

Between 1777 and 1960, Congress passed FIVE different acts that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed for additional stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state.

Today the flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with 6 white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union.

The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence, and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.