Semper Paratus (march)
"Semper Paratus" (Latin for "Always Ready") is a 1928 song and the official march of the United States Coast Guard, having been composed in 1927 by U.S. Coast Guard Captain Francis Saltus Van Boskerck.
|English: Always Ready|
Service song of the U.S. Coast Guard
|Lyrics||Homer Smith and Walton Butterfield, 1969|
|Music||Francis Saltus Van Boskerck, 1927|
"Semper Paratus" being played instrumentally by the U.S. Coast Guard Band in 1990.
Semper Paratus is the title of the song and is also the U.S. Coast Guard's official motto. The precise origin of the phrase is obscure, although the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office notes the first use was by the New Orleans Bee newspaper in 1836, in reference to the actions of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service during the Ingham incident.
The original lyrics (seen below) were written by Captain Francis Saltus Van Boskerck in 1922, at the cabin of USCGC Yamacraw in Savannah, Georgia; he wrote the music in 1927, on a "beat-up old piano" in Unalaska, Alaska.
The current verse, as well as a second chorus, were written by Homer Smith, 3rd Naval District Coast Guard quartet; Chief Cole; and Lieutenant Walton Butterfield in 1943. In 1969, the first line of the chorus was changed from “So here's the Coast Guard marching song, We sing on land and sea.” to “We're always ready for the call, We place our trust in Thee.”
- From Aztec Shore to Arctic Zone,
- To Europe and Far East,
- The Flag is carried by our ships
- In times of war and peace;
- And never have we struck it yet,
- In spite of foemen's might,
- Who cheered our crews and cheered again
- For showing how to fight.
- We're always ready for the call,
- We place our trust in Thee.
- Through surf and storm and howling gale,
- High shall our purpose be,
- "Semper Paratus" is our guide,
- Our fame, our glory, too.
- To fight to save or fight and die!
- Aye! Coast Guard, we are for you.
- "Surveyor" and "Narcissus,"
- The "Eagle" and "Dispatch,"
- The "Hudson" and the "Tampa,"
- These names are hard to match;
- From Barrow's shores to Paraguay,
- Great Lakes or Ocean's wave,
- The Coast Guard fights through storms and winds
- To punish or to save.
- Aye! We've been "Always Ready"
- To do, to fight, or die!
- Write glory to the shield we wear
- In letters to the sky.
- To sink the foe or save the maimed
- Our mission and our pride.
- We'll carry on 'til Kingdom Come
- Ideals for which we've died.
- "Semper paratus". Annotated Music. Library of Congress.
- "History, Heritage & Traditions: Semper Paratus". Frequently Asked Questions. U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office.
- Loy, James M. (1999). "The Curse of Semper Paratus" (PDF). Speech before the Military Order of the Carabao Luncheon. Archived from the original on 2016-09-17.
- Kroll, p 144
- "History, Heritage & Traditions: Semper Paratus". Frequently Asked Questions. U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
- "Semper Paratus". Annotated Music. Library of Congress. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
- Kroll, C. Douglas (2010). A Coast Guardsman's History of the U.S. Coast Guard. Annapolis, Maryland: U. S. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-433-5.
- Loy, James M. (January 19, 1999). "The Curse of Semper Paratus" (PDF). Speech before the Military Order of the Carabao Luncheon. Archived from the original on September 17, 2016.