Hail to the Chief!

Watching the historic arrival of Israel’s first mission to the United Arab Emirates and later listening to prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s emotional and deeply moving remarks, my mind wandered (as it sometimes does) to my words in the past and to them in the present.

While I have verbally attacked our prime minister for what I believed and still believe are his criminal activities and his lack of concern for the ordinary citizens of Israel, those who cannot enrich him and his wife with favors, power and wealth, I herald him today for his greatest of all efforts to expand our peaceful and fruitful relations not only with the neighboring Arab countries on our borders but even more so— much, much more so with Muslim countries far from our frontiers.

It brought to mind the unsung words to an American anthem. The United States of America has two official anthems.. the national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” written in 1812 by Francis Scott Key, sung on every national ceremony and occasion, and a second unsung anthem, the Presidential anthem, “Hail to the Chief”.

The Presidential anthem was written by an English violinist, James Sanderson, in 1812 and was first played in the USA in 1815. But it did not become an official anthem until 1829.

The music to “Hail to the Chief” is traditionally played by the United States Marine Band on the occasions when the American president, the Commander in Chief, makes an official entrance.

However, the anthem was not officially played before 1829 when it honored the entrance of president Andrew Jackson at his official inauguration. Jackson was the first American president to be honored by the now official Presidential Anthem.

James Sanderson’s melody was set to words, never sung, by an American, Albert Gamse, in 1900.

The anthem is always played by the Marine Band whenever an American president arrives and departs and always at the cemetery at the funeral of a president, past or sitting.

“Hail to the Chief” has stirring words. It is a pity that it has never been sung, only enjoyed by an American public standing in respect for their president but regrettably with unsung words.

It occurred to me that the unsung words are fitting for both all American presidents as well today for our prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation.
Hail to the Chief ! We salute him, one and all.
Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation
In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.
Your’s is the aim to make this grand country grander,
This you will do, that’s our strong, firm belief.
Hail to the one we selected as commander,
Hail to the President ! Hail to the Chief ! “

Today, on the historic day which will be inscribed in the documents of our nation, we all owe three cheers to prime minister Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu.

Hail to our leader. “Hail to the Chief”.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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