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The thump of the bass drum, the precision of the brass and a cadence that matches the beat of a patriot’s heart: that is the U.S. Marine Corps band, which celebrates its 215th birthday this week with much fanfare.

In special twin concerts on hallowed ground, “The President’s Own” will remind the public that a great march or a stirring call to arms can drown out even the noisiest politician. They perform free for the public on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, then on the banks of the Potomac River, near Nationals Park.

Someone has crafted the band a spectacular gift.

“We are especially excited to open the concerts with a new work written in honor of our anniversary by the incomparable John Williams,” said Marine Band Director Col. Michael J. Colburn. “Williams’ new piece is a fanfare written specifically for the Marine Band’s anniversary year and is aptly titled ‘For The President’s Own’.”

The bodacious band members in their resplendent red and blue uniforms play 200 times a year at the White House in several configurations, plus 500 additional public and official events each year. When a sense of grand occasion is needed, folks have sent in the Marines for more than two centuries.

Established by an act of Congress in 1798, the United States Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization. The few, the proud and the very talented also have a mission: “to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.”

President John Adams invited the Marine Band to make its White House debut on New Year’s Day 1801, even before the official residence was finished. It performed for Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration three months later — and have performed for every presidential inaugural since. Jefferson, a fiddle player in his own right, recognized the unique relationship ‘twixt band and chief executive and promptly gave the Marine Band the title “The President’s Own.”

So, three cheers. Hurrah. And, of course, oorah, ladies and gents.

POP TART GUN PART 2

The Lone Star State lawmaker who raffled off a Bushmaster AR-15 personal defense rifle over July Fourth also is taking on school officials who punish exuberant children for playing cops and robbers at recess.

“In response to a recent wave of school authorities punishing children for innocent expression, I have introduced H.R. 2625, the ‘Student Protection Act.’ Too often so-called zero tolerance policies are being abused by school authorities to punish children for innocent play or, worse, try to indoctrinate them to be terrified of anything even shaped like a gun,” says Rep. Steve Stockman.

“Instead of nurturing young minds these policies are traumatizing children who did nothing wrong or instilling in them irrational fears. Why are taxpayer dollars being spent to subsidize this insanity?” the Texas Republican demands.

“Schools should be places where children learn. Punishing children for playing ‘cops and robbers’ or taking a bite out of a Pop-Tart that makes it somewhat resemble a gun is not healthy for children. Something must be done to restore sanity to the schoolroom. The Student Protection Act would end the practice of using federal taxpayer dollars to subsidize schools that enforce these policies that abuse and harm young children,” Mr. Stockman says.

RUN SARAH RUN

When Sarah Palin bought a sizable house in Arizona, everyone assumed she would run for the U.S. Senate seat in the state, with a nice boost from her old running mate Sen. John McCain. But that was years ago. More recently, it was suggested that she join forces with Jeb Bush for another White House run.

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