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Customs and Tradtions, Navy

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Navy Colors
The official Navy colors are blue and gold.

Navy March: "Anchors Aweigh"
"Anchors Aweigh" was written in 1906 as a march for the Naval Academy Class of 1907. The music was composed by Lt. Charles A. Zimmerman, bandmaster of the Naval Academy; the lyrics were written by Midshipman Alfred H. Miles. It was first performed at the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia in 1906 (Navy beat Army 10-0!).

Today, the song has become an important part of Chief Petty Officers training. While there is a proposal to include protocol for performing "Anchors Aweigh" in the Navy Regulations and to designate it the official song of the U.S. Navy, it remains an unofficial service song. There are numerous variations in the words to "Anchors Aweigh;" this version is considered the original version.

Anchors Aweigh (1906 version)
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 Jones, Hooray!

Anchors Away, my boys, Anchors Aweigh.
Farewell to foreign shores, 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.

Blue of the Mighty Deep; Gold of God's Sun
Let these colors be till all of time be done, done, done,
On seven seas we learn Navy's stern call:
Faith, Courage, Service true, with Honor, Over Honor, Over All.

Navy Motto
There is no official motto for the U.S. Navy. "Non sibi sed patriae" (Not self but country) is often cited as the Navy's motto, however.

Wetting Down a commission
In the old Navy, an officer's commission was hand-written on heavy parchment. According to some sources, the newly commissioned or promoted officer held a dinner for his shipmates and friends. During the course of the evening, the new commission was rolled into a cone, the small end folded up to form a cup. This paper cup was passed around the table for all the guests to toast the new officer. Thus, the new commission was "wetted down." Considering the importance of the document, however, this interpretation may be doubtful. Commissions in the early U.S. Navy were signed and issued by the President and were of great legal and personal value.

Who shines the ship's bell
An old Navy tradition has it that the ship's cook shines the ship's bell and the ship's bugler shines the ship's whistle. This tradition may still be observed in some of the ships of the modern Navy. However, in normal practice, the ship's bell is maintained by a man of the ships' division charged with the upkeep of that part of the ship where the bell is located.

Why is a ship referred to as "she?"
It has always been customary to personify certain inanimate objects and attribute to them characteristics peculiar to living creatures. Thus, things without life are often spoken of as having a sex. Some objects are regarded as masculine. The sun, winter, and death are often personified in this way. Others are regarded as feminine, especially those things that are dear to us. The earth as mother Earth is regarded as the common maternal parent of all life. In languages that use gender for common nouns, boats, ships, and other vehicles almost invariably use a feminine form. Likewise, early seafarers spoke of their ships in the feminine gender for the close dependence they had on their ships for life and sustenance.

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Published:Mon Feb 13 13:00:16 EST 2017