Every year my school band marches in three memorial day parades. This was my last year, so I feel I should commemorate it in some way. (Side note: I’m proud to say I have marched with all four primary types of saxophone!)
One of my most vivid memories, not just from the parades but in general, was two years ago in our first parade of the day. The ceremonies were taking place in a graveyard. The band was at one end, and most of the stuff was happening a little ways off. One of our trumpet players did taps, but it was on the other side of the yard from where I was. It was completely quiet, so still, and the only thing you could hear was taps in the distance, from across the graves. It was so chilling. Of course the rest of that year’s parades sucked because it was disgustingly hot.
Being involved in these functions year after year really gives me a good appreciation of those who have served. Both my grandfathers were in the military, although only one was deployed (Korea). All Americans owe a great deal to these men and women who have served, and if any veterans are reading this, thank you; that is all words can do to express my gratitude.
Related to the military, military type music is kinda cool. The music we march with is a medley of all the military theme songs. It’s a lame arrangement but it gets the job done, and I’ve played it so many times it isn’t even funny (at Veteran’s and Memorial Day assemblies as well as the parades and other various performances). The two “military” marches of Sousa (Semper Fidelis, and Stars and Stripes Forever) are among his best. Taps always gets me. It is so simple, yet its connotations are so deep. I’m sure there is more killer military music, but I just don’t know it.
I’ll leave you with a piece I wish I wrote: Decoration Day from the Holiday’s Symphony of Ives.