The history of the War on the Hyphen is too interesting to ignore.
What's more, it explains and almost certainly inspired the poem that became the lyric of There Is No Hyphen in My Heart--a World War I song William Christopher O'Hare arranged for band and probably for orchestra.
Although the War on the Hyphen began innocently enough with an amusing attack on a punctuation mark, it evolved into a war of anti-Americanism--most specifically, a war against pro-German sentiments--which all too easily impacted innocent German American immigrants. In many ways, it parallels discrimination that relegated Japanese American citizens to internment camps during WWII and discrimination that targets some refugee, immigrant, and even tourist groups today.
During the summer of 1903, the New Orleans Times-Democrat published an article about O'Hare's music, thus raising questions about possible 1880s association with Witmark and his reasons for moving from Washington, D.C. to Shreveport:
I am a retired community college professor and the great-granddaughter of composer, orchestrator, arranger, organist, and teacher William Christopher O'Hare.
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