In his autobiography, Marching Along, John Phillip Sousa (above) wrote that
he composed the march, "The Stars and Stripes Forever"on Christmas Day
1896. He had just learned of the recent death of David Blakely, then manager
of the Sousa Band. Sousa said he was on a ferry in Europe at the time, when
he composed the march in his head and committed the notes to paper upon
arrival in America. It was performed for the first time. It was at a ceremony
where a statue of George Washington was unveiled.