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Fortnight For Freedom: Yankee Doodle

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

Something for a Fourth of July weekend:  Yankee Doodle.

 Originally sung by British officers to disparage American troops who fought beside them in the French and Indian War, it was seized upon by Patriots, given endless lyrics, and cheered the patriot troops and civilians during the eight long years of the Revolution.  After Lexington and Concord it was reported by Massachusetts newspapers that the British were suddenly not as fond of the song:

“Upon their return to Boston [pursued by the Minutemen], one [Briton] asked his brother officer how he liked the tune now, — ‘Dang them,’ returned he, ‘they made us dance it till we were tired’ — since which Yankee Doodle sounds less sweet to their ears.”

James Cagney did an immortal riff on Yankee Doodle in the musical biopic of composer and actor George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942):

Yankee Doodle plays in the background as Cagney at the end of the film, entirely impromptu, dances down the White House staircase:

Yankee Doodle marked the beginning of our life as a nation.  A little trifle of a song in many ways, it also symbolized an energy and a resilience that have ever been the hallmark of the American people, along with a dedication to liberty.  We have many virtues as a nation along with vices.  Many times in our history disaster has appeared to loom due to foreign threats or domestic turmoil.  When we remember who we are, and are true to the best in us as exemplified in our cherished founding documents, all tends to be well.  When we forget, and betray the better angels of our nature, we sow the wind for future strife.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

2 Comments

  1. our upstate Hudson Valley tradition is that the yankee doodle was penned down the street from my domicile by a Dr. Schukberg [ approx.?!] , sitting on the well cover of the Patroons’ East Patent fortified home,name after the high Mightiness’ Holland Farm, Crailo , now called Rensselaer NY. The Dr. was as you point out ridiculing colonial troops from the 7 years war era. Yankee was a dutch term of derision of anyone from new england and doodle is thought to derive from german for a music player, a doodler on a piccolo i imagine. Macaroni is a fad from early 18th century london and worth your reader[s] taking a moment to read about- we owe our fore Father so much!

    But Mr. M, give me your opinion on this – an open mic topic….
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/receiving-awards-benedict-xvi-credits-witness-of-john-paul-ii-51631/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+catholicnewsagency%2Fdailynews+%28CNA+Daily+News%29&utm_term=daily+news

    what must go thru the German shepherds heart and mind as he stands by and witness’s the Bergoglio Papacy ?? and his role in same ???

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