David Nishimura, at the ever diverse and informative Cronaca, drew my attention to an upcoming astrological phenomenon, the Transit of Venus across the sun, visible tomorrow on June 8. Then, on Saturday morning, I heard on NPR that John Philip Sousa had written a Transit of Venus March the last time this happened, in 1882. And it just so happens that, when I look out the front window of my house, I see Congressional Cemetery and, almost directly, the grave of the Marine Band conductor. (This place, the first national cemetery of the United States, is a little-known and beautiful monument. It will be the location of one of the Memorial Groves, which will be dedicated to the victims of the September 11 attacks.) The United States Marine Band ("The President's Own") still performs at Sousa's grave every year on the date of his birth, November 6.
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