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In 1942, conductor Eugene Goosens requested eighteen fanfares to be composed to open his concerts during World War II. Aaron Copland's contribution to this endeavor was "Fanfare for the Common Man". Based on a war-time speech by Vice President Henry Wallace, "Fanfare for the Common Man" matches his call to protect and expand the freedoms of not only American citizens but of all mankind. Copland's fanfare has endured the test of time and become a symbol of the indomitable human spirit.

Originally the "Ballet for Martha", Copland's orchestral composition of "Appalachian Spring" gained its current title at the suggestion from Martha Graham, the ballet's comissioner, to use a line from Hart Crane's poem "The Dance". Of the piece, Copland said, "I gave voice to [Appalachia] without knowing I was giving voice to it." In that same way, Aaron Copland unknowingly gave voice with his sweeping theme to mankind's journey from the earth to the stars.