"Anchors Aweigh" is the fight song of the United States Naval Academy, and as a result, the song is strongly associated with the United States Navy.
The word "weigh" in this sense comes from the archaic word meaning to heave, hoist or raise. "Aweigh" means that that action has been completed. The anchor is aweigh when it is pulled from the bottom. This event is duly noted in the ship's log.
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Lieut. Charles A. Zimmermann, USN, a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, had been selected as the bandmaster of the Naval Academy Band in 1887 at the age of 26. His father, Charles Z. Zimmermann, had played in the band during the Civil War years. Early in his career, Lieut. Zimmermann started the practice of composing a march for each graduating class. By 1892, "Zimmy", as he was affectionately known by the midshipmen, became so popular that he was presented with a gold medal by that year's class. More gold medals followed as Zimmermann wrote a march for each succeeding class
In 1906, Lieut. Zimmerman was approached by Midshipman First Class Alfred Hart Miles with a request for a new march. As a member of the Class of 1907, Miles and his classmates "were eager to have a piece of music that would be inspiring, one with a swing to it so it could be used as a football marching song, and one that would live forever."
Supposedly, with the two men seated at the Naval Academy Chapel organ, Zimmermann composed the tune and Miles set the title and wrote to two first stanzas in November 1906. This march was played by the band and sung by the brigade at the 1906 Army-Navy football game later that month, and for the first time in several seasons, Navy won. This march, Anchors Aweigh, was subsequently dedicated to the Academy Class of 1907 and adopted as the official song of the U.S. Navy. The concluding stanza was written by Midshipman Royal Lovell, Class of 1926.
Anchors Aweigh was also a 1945 American Technicolor musical comedy film directed by George Sidney and starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, and Gene Kelly, in which two sailors go on a four-day shore leave in Hollywood.
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