Who was Alexander Hamilton, anyway?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Auxiliarist, Louis DiLeo singing the Star Spangled banner in front of Hamilton's grave in New York City on July 14th, 2014. Auxiliarist, Louis DiLeo singing the Star Spangled banner in front of Hamilton's grave in New York City on July 14th, 2014.

Auxiliarist Louis DiLeo singing the Star Spangled banner in front of Hamilton’s grave in New York City on July 14th, 2014.  USCG Auxiliary photo by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Burns, US Army.

 

New York, New York – Everyone who has handled a $10 bill knows what he looked like, and maybe they know he was the first Secretary of the Treasury, and even maybe that he established the first bank in the United States, the Bank of New York. However, it is not so well known that Alexander Hamilton is considered the founding father of the US Coast Guard!

Article by John Sasso, USCG Auxiliary Band Leader

Smuggling and pirating off American coasts was problematic before and after the Revolutionary War. In response, Hamilton proposed to Congress to enact a naval police force called revenue cutters to patrol the waters and assist the custom collectors with confiscating contraband. The cutters were to be armed with muskets, bayonets, and pistols. So on August 4, 1790 Congress established the Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Coast Guard was born.

USCG Auxiliary Bugler Louis DiLeo, sounds taps at the memorial ceremony for Alexander Hamilton's 210th anniversary of his funeral.

USCG Auxiliarist Bugler Louis DiLeo sounds taps at the memorial ceremony for Alexander Hamilton’s 210th anniversary of his funeral.  USCG Auxiliary photo by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Burns, US Army.

Each year, on July 14, the anniversary of Hamilton’s funeral, a ceremony is held at Trinity Church in downtown Manhattan, at his gravesite. Hosted by the Trinity Church and the Alexander Hamilton Awareness (AHA) Society, the gathering remembers the founding father, his principles, ideals, and accomplishments, that are still in our society today.   This year, the 210th anniversary of Hamilton’s funeral, the ceremony was augmented with a Coast Guard color guard to render honors. The singing of the National Anthem and sounding of Taps by the Auxiliary band’s Principal Trumpeter, Bugler and Vocalist, Louis DiLeo.

In the words of the AHA Society President, Rand Scholet, “USCG Auxiliary Louis DiLeo’s contributions added to the memorial service in ways that had not been seen in over 27 years, as far as the long-time Hamiltonians had related to us. The strength of his voice during the singing of the National Anthem touched the heart. His stirring bugling of “Taps” touched our soul. Alexander Hamilton and his memory were well served that day!”

The AHA Society is anxiously awaiting the 225th anniversary celebration of the founding of the US Coast Guard on August 4th of 2015, which occurred in the US capital at the time, New York City.

Hamilton's grave at the Trinity Cemetery, Manhattan, NY

Hamilton’s grave at the Trinity Cemetery in Manhattan, NY.  USCG Auxiliary photo by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Burns, US Army.

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