Post by Diane Merkel on Nov 10, 2007 23:33:48 GMT -5
This sounds like a unique DVD!
Sturgis, South Dakota hosts the world's oldest and largest motorcycle rally, but it is also rich with American history and American Indian folklore. It also shares history with soldiers, agriculture, and is the birthplace of our National Anthem. "Why Sturgis?" presents an unprecedented look at this Black Hills community, featuring the first complete biography of the town's namesake, Col. Samuel D. Sturgis (a famous Civil War Brigadier General), as well as the rally's beginnings, tourism economy, and an opportunity to see this small town without 500,000 bikers. (Emphasis added.)
Thanks for mentioning our documentary "Why Sturgis?" in the messageboards. Please contact me if you would like a complimentary copy to review for your association.
It took four years to research, film, and edit. One year alone was spent researching documents and photographs for the biography of Samuel D. Sturgis, which takes up about one quarter of the entire 90-minute documentary. We do feature a tiny bit on his Custer connection and the loss of Lt. James Garland Sturgis, the eldest son of the Colonel.
“Custer was not a popular man among his troops, by any means. He was tyrannical, and had no regard for the soldiers under him.” --Samuel D. Sturgis
Regarding the ties between the Black Hills and the National Anthem, "birthplace" may not be the best term... but the tradition did start there at historic Fort Meade.
Sturgis, South Dakota wouldn't be there if not for the nearby Fort Meade Cavalry Post -- whose first post commander Col. Samuel D. Sturgis -- built in 1878-79 by units of the 1st and 11th infantry and the reorganized 7th Cavalry.
In the 1890s, it was commanded by Col. Calab Carlton, who wanted more ceremony on the frontier when lowering the flag at day's end. He and his wife Sadie went over a few tunes, when they suggested playing the Star Spangled Banner because (1) the circumstances the poem was written by F.S. Key in 1814, and (2) the tune it sounded good on a piano when Sadie played it. It was there where the tradition began where the soldiers would take off their hats and/or salute the lowering of the flag to the tune.
A few years later the Secretary of War was so impressed by it that he ordered all of the posts of the United States and our territories to play the Star Spangled Banner in the evening when the flag comes down.
It wasn't until 1931/1932 and during the Great Depression, President Hoover wanted to inspire the American public and develop a sense of greater patriotism. America still did not have a National Anthem, and the Star Spangled Banner was a logical choice because of the 40-year old tradition with the military.
Anyway, I hope I am contributing to the discussion and not doing a shameless commercial plug! :-)
Martin Schliessmann director, "Why Sturgis?" Escape Route Flix, LLC
Post by Diane Merkel on Nov 29, 2007 10:54:58 GMT -5
Thank you, Martin! You are welcome to plug your work here any time!
I appreciate the explanation about the National Anthem. Another man sent me a link to information about it. The credit for the adoption of the Anthem makes sense when you hear/read the story behind it.
I also appreciate your offer of a review copy of the DVD. I don't think I could do a proper review, but I have someone in mind and, if this person agrees, I will provide him your e-mail address and make it conditional upon his agreement to provide a review to one of the Little Bighorn-related publications. Will that be OK?
That would be great, Diane... Thank you! I know Greasy Grass publishes just once a year and just reviews books, and HistoryNet's American History has just listed us in the Nov/Dec issue without a review.
I still will donate a DVD to your association, for your further reference material library. Our best interest have been with some National Park bookstores in the Southeast -- funny since we showcase the West a tad more! (They must like the fact that Sturgis was run out by Nathan Bedford Forrest in the Civil War!) One of the greatest challenges with keeping history interesting is by relating it to today's audiences, and I think you will enjoy how we tie in history with today's tourism economies.