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Anchors Aweigh



US Naval Academy bandmaster Charles A. Zimmerman (1861–1916) originally wrote this song (with lyrics by Midshipman Alfred Hart Miles, 1883–1956) as the school’s “fight song” in 1906. It was first played during the Army–Navy football game on December 1, 1906. (The Navy won 10–0.) The song’s lyrics have been revised three times, lastly by the Master Chief of the Navy John Hagen in 1997, to be more inclusive of the entire Navy. While the song has not been officially adopted by the Navy, it is commonly played at Naval events.

A note on the title: To “weigh anchor” is to bring it aboard a vessel in preparation for departure. The phrase “anchor’s aweigh” is a report that the anchor has been pulled from the sea bottom and, therefore, the ship is officially underway.

What picture of the Navy (and its sailors) does this song suggest? What is the Navy’s mission, and how does the Navy complete that mission? Why do you think the Navy chose this song as its unofficial anthem? How does it compare to the anthems of the other military branches?

Stand Navy, out to 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 Jones1, hooray!

Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh.
Farewell to college joys, we sail 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!

1 The sailor’s devil. Davy Jones’ locker is an idiom for the bottom of the sea or the resting place of drowned sailors and shipwrecks. Return to text.

Return to The Meaning of Veterans Day.

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