I owe all you sailors out there an apology.

Most of us are familiar with the song associated with the U.S. Navy. 

Go ahead. Try humming it to yourself…

The title of the tune? 

Is it “Anchors Away…?”

Or— “Anchors Aweigh…?”

Well, it took a retired U.S. Marines-Navy chaplain to catch my headline error. 

Three Pelican Rapids High School graduates were the subject of a feature in the Press, Dec. 22 edition. 

Taylor and Tanner Poach; and Mitch Hagen. In one of the headlines, I referred to the title of the song, “Anchors Away.” 

Here’s what I heard from Rev. Jeff Ethen, former pastor of St. Leonard and St. Elizabeth parishes. 

“Good feature on Navy, but your headline “Anchors Away” is incorrect.

As a former naval officer (Marine Corps chaplain), I need to point out that the correct term is: ‘Anchors Aweigh.’

It’s a ship term indicating that the anchor has lifted off the bottom and that the vessel is technically free floating, thus on the move. The ship is no longer weighed down in place.

As the Marines say: Hurrah…”

Lt. (former) Jeff Ethen

Thanks for the correction. 

Father Jeff served as a Marine Reserves chaplain. The Marines operate under the umbrella of the U.S. Navy. At the ripe old age of about 33, Ethen managed to get through the required Marine Corps basic training to enter his four years of service as Chaplain. 

Further explanation, from Wikipedia: 

“Anchors Aweigh” is the fight song of the United States Naval Academy and the unofficial march song of the United States Navy. It was composed in 1906 by Charles A. Zimmermann with lyrics by Alfred Hart Miles. 

When he composed “Anchors Aweigh,” Zimmermann was a lieutenant and had been bandmaster of the United States Naval Academy Band since 1887. 

“Weigh anchor” is an old Dutch sailor’s expression; it amounts to an order that a ship’s anchors be raised. (For a time, Dutch and Flemish phrases dominated sailors’ expressions all over the world.) To “weigh anchor” is to bring all anchor(s) aboard the vessel in preparation for departure. In response to the order, the phrase “anchors aweigh” reports back that all anchors are clear of the sea bottom; therefore the ship is officially under way.

“Anchors aweigh” is often misspelled as “Anchor’s away,” leading to confusing the terms, and sometimes misunderstanding the order as meaning “to drop anchor.”

The “Anchors Aweigh” song was first played during the Army–Navy football game on December 1, 1906.