Columbia and The Propagandas

Long before Uncle Sam started pointing his boney old finger at all of America’s young men, his little sister Columbia used to show up in all sorts of propaganda. Way back in the 1700’s Columbia rose up out of the Atlantic mists. She carried a sharp sword, Her corsets and swirling skirts were striped and starred. Columbia was the subject and lore and longing. Her sweet song, Hail, Columbia, composed for the inauguration of President Washington, was sung by patriots like an anthem until 1931 when the “Star-Spangled Banner” became the official one.

Hail Columbia, happy land!
Hail, ye heroes, heaven-born band,
Who fought and bled in freedom’s cause,
Who fought and bled in freedom’s cause,
And when the storm of war was gone
Enjoy’d the peace your valor won.
Let independence be our boast,
Ever mindful what it cost;
Ever grateful for the prize,
Let its altar reach the skies.

Chorus
Firm, united let us be,
Rallying round our liberty,
As a band of brothers joined,
Peace and safety we shall find.

Immortal patriots, rise once more,
Defend your rights, defend your shore!
Let no rude foe, with impious hand,
Let no rude foe, with impious hand,
Invade the shrine where sacred lies
Of toil and blood, the well-earned prize,
While off’ring peace, sincere and just,
In Heaven’s we place a manly trust,
That truth and justice will prevail,
And every scheme of bondage fail.

Chorus
Firm, united let us be,
Rallying round our liberty,
As a band of brothers joined,
Peace and safety we shall find.

Behold the chief who now commands,
Once more to serve his country stands.
The rock on which the storm will break,
The rock on which the storm will break,
But armed in virtue, firm, and true,
His hopes are fixed on Heav’n and you.
When hope was sinking in dismay,
When glooms obscured Columbia’s day,
His steady mind, from changes free,
Resolved on death or liberty.

Chorus
Firm, united let us be,
Rallying round our liberty,
As a band of brothers joined,
Peace and safety we shall find.

Sound, sound the trump of fame,
Let Washington’s great name
Ring through the world with loud applause,
Ring through the world with loud applause,
Let ev’ry clime to freedom dear,
Listen with a joyful ear,
With equal skill, with God-like pow’r
He governs in the fearful hour
Of horrid war, or guides with ease
The happier time of honest peace.

Chorus
Firm, united let us be,
Rallying round our liberty,
As a band of brothers joined,
Peace and safety we shall find.

 

Yep, The United Staes used to be Columbia the same way The United Kingdom was Britannia, the French had Marianne and Italians rallied to Italia Turrita. That’s why our capital is in the District of Columbia. The lady at the beginning of the movies is the symbol of Columbia Pictures. Then there’s Columbia Records, the Columbia Broadcasting System and that line in the old Steely Dan song about the fine Columbian.

When the 1920’s came roaring along corsets went out the window and long skirts got short. Columbia just wasn’t cool and Lady Liberty started pushing her around. Even though booze had been banned, Americans just wanted to have fun. Columbia had spent most of World War I reminding them to sacrifice and endure hardships at home and they were having none of it. Liberty loosened up quick, tucked a flask in her purse and headed down to the speak easy. Columbia stayed home to take care of mother and we haven’t seen much of her since.

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