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Veteran's Day Salute to Military
By Pfc. Eugena Roachè
Det. 1 444th Mobile Public Affairs
Photo credit: Pfc. Eugena Roachè
The event was arranged by The Delaware National Guard Retired Officers’ Association and was free for the nearly 1200 attendees.
The 287th Army Band began nearly two hours of harmony with ‘musical salutes’ to soldiers of war. A selection was chosen for each of the American wars including Operation Enduring Freedom. Honorably, the Chimes of Liberty March was the selection to salute those who are currently deployed or on active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The ceremony lent special recognition to Sgt. Charles R. Laws, Jr. (Army, retired), who earned five Bronze Stars during Vietnam and has more recently been inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, GA - alongside only 165 other elite inductees.
Afterward, the band played ‘God Bless the USA’ - as Sgt. Mark Pulliam sang vocals - in recognition of those who served in Vietnam.
Led by CW4 Charles ‘Ed’ Hockersmith, the 287th Army Band went on to perform the remaining of more than 20 of everyone’s favorite patriotic songs. This included tunes paying tribute to current and former members of each of the branches of military service.
During this part of the performance, the correlating 227th birthday of the United States Marine Corps was recognized, and a ‘snippet’ of ‘Happy Birthday’ was played just before their service song as they posted their colors.
Finally, the ‘Musical Salute’ ended with two selections paying tribute to our fallen soldiers, those who earned the Bronze Star, those who earned Purple Heart, and former prisoners-of-war.
In closing, attendees of ‘A Musical Salute to the Military’ were also invited to attend a free Christmas concert hosted by the 287th Army Band that will be held on December 17 at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington.
Donations from several sources made the event possible. The Delaware River and Bay Authority funded the observance ceremony. Denis McGlynn, President and CEO of Dover Downs Entertainment, charitably made the beautiful Rollins Center facilities available free-of-charge, and Delaware Army National Guard supported the event by providing the 287th Army Band, said Maj. Gen. Francis D. Vavala.