By Mark Bowser
“Yankee doodle came to town riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his hat, and called him macaroni.”
We all know the words but do we know the heritage? How a song that was designed to ridicule became a victory cry of triumph.
The famous tune Yankee Doodle was written by Dr. Richard Schuckburgh. He was a British surgeon during the time of the French and Indian war.
Dr. Shuckburgh, as well as many British, loved to make fun of the American cousins. During the French and Indian War, the rustic Americans fought on the side of the British. The Americans would march alongside the sharp dressed, well trained British Redcoats. The good doctor took this contrast and made it a joke.
British soldiers had great fun making up their own versus for this little song. But things changed on the way to Lexington. On April 19, 1775, the British troops were singing Yankee Doodle as they were marching from Boston towards Lexington and Concord.
All of a sudden, the now tone deaf British found themselves in a battle against the rebels. The colonials hid behind trees and under rocks and pummeled the Redcoats as they marched by. The American War for Independence had begun.
As the Redcoats retreated hastily from the battlefield, they could hear that old familiar tune again … but, this time it was sung by the Americans. And, on that day, the Americans captured the song as their own and it became a patriotic classic to this day. The Americans began to refer to the song as the Lexington March.
During the war, the Americans found great joy in playing this song as the British surrendered at key battles such as Saratoga and the war ending Yorktown. At the surrender at Saratoga,Tom Anbury, a British Army officer said, “It was not a little mortifying to hear them play this tune, when their army marched down to our surrender.”
Not bad for a bunch of rebels. This is Mark Bowser. Thanks for reading.
*Mark Bowser is the author of several books including “Some Gave It All” with Danny Lane (endorsed by Chuck Norris), “Sales Success” with Zig Ziglar, and “Jesus, Take the Wheel.” As a Professional Speaker, he has presented prestigious seminars at Southwest Airlines, Ford Motor Company, United States Marine Corp., Princeton University, Purdue University, Kings Daughters Medical Center, USDA, FedEx Logistics, and many more. Mark can be reached at http://www.MarkBowser.com or http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/markbowser.