President Lincoln and ‘Dixie’

Published Aug 30, 2017 at 4:00pm

As we peruse editorials that cross our desk we spotted this little item from the Arkansas Democrat- Gazette.

The Democrat-Gazette, whose columnist, Paul Greenberg, we publish, reported that word had come from Midland, Texas, and from Lee High School, no less. (Yes, it was named for that Lee.)

The powers that be at the school say they’ve suspended the use of the song “Dixie” during ball games. The band won’t be allowed to play it. These days, with so many taking either real or pretend offense at anything they can get their eyes on, it may be useful to remember the words of a president named Lincoln, as he entered Richmond one day in 1865. He provides the best defense of this little song. As he stood before the people, victory all but assured during the Civil War, President Lincoln was in a boisterous mood:

“I see you have a band of music with you. I propose closing up this interview by the band performing a particular tune which I will name. Before this is done, however, I wish to mention one or two little circumstances connected with it. I have always thought ‘Dixie’ one of the best tunes I have ever heard. Our adversaries over the way attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted yesterday that we fairly captured it. I presented the question to the attorney general, and he gave it as his legal opinion that it is our lawful prize. I now request the band to favor me with its performance.”

And the band played on.