Forget “Hail to the Redskins.” The Washington Commanders’ Marching Band Will Premiere a New Fight Song.

From a Washington Post story by Scott Allen headlined “A fan vote will decide lyrics for Commanders’ slightly revised fight song”:

The Washington Commanders’ new marching band will premiere the team’s new fight song Aug. 13 during its first preseason game. The melody and lyrics will sound quite familiar.

On Tuesday, the Commanders unveiled two options for their new song, which will be a slightly tweaked version of the original “Hail to the Redskins.” In addition to “Commanders” replacing the retired team name in the new lyrics, the line “Sons of Wash-ing-ton” is now “All of Wash-ing-ton.”

The main change, though, is to the third line of the original song. “Braves on the warpath!” will be dropped in favor of “Fight for our Commanders!” or “Leaders on a mission!” — with fan voting at determining the winner. The voting site features side-by-side images of the lyrics for the two options and audio of each version sung by members of the team’s Fan Ambassador Network. Fans may vote as often as they would like through Aug. 6.

(The words “Commanders” and “Fight” being repeated in both the opening stanza and refrain isn’t ideal, but “Leaders on a mission!” is too reminiscent of the Big Ten’s ill-fated Leaders and Legends divisions for my taste, so the vote here is for Option 1.)

Band leader Barnee Breeskin composed Washington’s original fight song in 1937; silent film star Corinne Griffith, team founder George Preston Marshall’s wife, wrote the lyrics. The original line of “Scalp ’em, swamp ’em — we will take ’em big score!” was later changed to “Beat ’em, swamp ’em, touchdown — let the points soar!” Those amended lyrics remain part of the new song, which was developed in collaboration with Breeskin’s son, David, and granddaughter, Maria Breeskin-McLain. David Breeskin will be honored at FedEx Field when the winning version of the song is first announced and performed by the band Aug. 13.

“The fight song has gone through several revisions, not only melodically but also from a lyric perspective over the years,” Joey Colby-Begovich of the Commanders’ said when the team first mentioned a “revamped arrangement” of the fight song was in the works back in May.

According to team officials who were involved with the development of the new fight song, conversations with fans and Washington alumni over the past few months convinced them not to stray far from the original tune. In April, fans voted for HTTC over TakeCommand as the team’s official hashtag, a nod to the popular HTTR initialism associated with the name the team retired in 2020.

“Our first season as the Commanders is all about connecting our past and present and we are excited to work closely with fans to help bring back these traditions under a new banner and combine them with new traditions fans will help to create,” Commanders President Jason Wright said.

The Commanders also announced additional details of their season-long development of a mascot. The team will reveal mascot “category options” at its first preseason game and invite fans to vote on those categories through Aug. 21. Renderings of mascots from the categories receiving the most votes will be unveiled at the team’s Week 3 home game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and another round of fan voting on those renderings will run through Sept. 27. The winning mascot will debut during the team’s final home game of the regular season Jan. 1.

Scott Allen has written about the Capitals, Nationals, Washington Football Team, Wizards and more for The Washington Post’s D.C. Sports Bog since 2014.

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