Only those heavily involved in Freemasonry or Masonry may fully appreciate the meaning of this march, which was written shortly after Sousa was “knighted” in Columbia Commandery No. 2, Knights Templar, Washington, D.C. The Knights Templar is theoretically derived from the Crusades, and a number of their secret rituals and ceremonies relate to the period when the Crusaders were battling the Turks. Thus the Knight Templar organization itself is probably the “Crusader,” unless Sousa had some individual in mind whose identity has escaped historians.
Vincent Tornello’s arrangement is in an easier key of concert B-flat. In addition, the arrangement is in a 2/4 time signature and with less technical demands making the work more accessible for young performers.