Hands Across the Sea was composed in 1899 and premiered the same year at the Philadelphia Academy of Music. Although a number of ideas have been suggested as to the origin of the title, Sousa scholar Paul Bierley believes that Sousa was inspired by a line credited to John Hookham Frere: "A sudden thought strikes me-let us swear an eternal friendship." In the Great Lakes Recruit of March, 1918, Sousa discussed the justification of the Spanish-American War, quoted Frere's line, and added, "That almost immediately suggested the title Hands Across the Sea." This march has been the musical anthem for many an overseas endeavor, in situations where the United States has extended aid to neighbors across the sea.
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