By Marsha M. Brown
To everyone who was able to attend the Friday, June 8 concert preformed by the U. S. Air Force (Langley) “Heritage of America” – “Rhythm In Blue” Band at Manteo First Assembly, we thank you.
Thank you too on behalf of the U.S. Air Force servicemen who genuinely appreciated not only your attendance but your show of gratitude for a job very well done. And to our U. S. Coast Guard – Oregon Inlet, we thank you for Posting Colors. We appreciate you so much for all that you do!
Several months ago while considering a military band to perform and not knowing what ensemble might be available, we came to realize the “Rhythm In Blue” jazz ensemble was already scheduled to come to the Outer Banks. Further, there would be no charge for the event and they only asked that everyone come and enjoy their performance.
When they arrived Friday afternoon it took almost two hours to unload and set up their equipment – afterward, they took a break to eat, change into their band apparel and perform for an hour and a half non stop.
At the onset, their spokesman introduced himself and the other band members who also stated where they were from. Occasionally he teased the members about one thing or the other and at one point he asked trivia questions about dates and events that historically changed, influenced or affected our country in a profound way. The ensemble enthusiastically played one rendition after another and during the course of the event three songs from the World War II era filled our sanctuary.
As I sat there listening to the music I observed smiles across the isles, rhythmic motion of feet to the music, thumping of thumbs on the knees, giddy shrugging of shoulders in sync with the beat…people were into it! It tickled me to see folks of all ages having such a good time.
Initially we had planned to give American flags specifically to the attending Veterans but it was obvious everyone wanted a flag of their own. Once we determined we, in fact, had enough for everyone we were happy to distribute them among the audience. It was great to see young and old alike in a patriotic spirit, unified in the love of our country and in the love for our Veterans and Armed Forces.
At the evenings close, “Rhythm In Blue” saved the best for last. They acknowledged our Veterans by playing the song of each military branch. One by one…as the songs of our U. S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Marines were played, the men and women who had served, stood proudly. It was a beautiful sight to see! Some waved their flags, some put their hand over their heart, some just stood and threw their chest out…they were honored to be honored and well they should have been!
The parents of servicemen or women who actively serve today beamed with pride. Those of us who knew who they were considered the sweet love of their children, worry when their sons or daughters are deployed and pride of their military career achievements. God bless our soldiers, airmen and sea faring men and women. Bless the hearts of Moms and Dads, husbands and wives, children and grandchildren and all family members of those who currently serve. Thank you!
That Friday night I saw at least two WWII Veterans in attendance – one male, one female. How special is that? I wondered what things their eyes had seen over their 90+ years of life. I wondered what they thought of the changes that have come to our military since they were engaged in service. Imagine the stories could they tell. What wonderful, golden treasures our older Veterans are!
All too soon, the band did what they do over and over again. They broke their equipment down, packed it up; loaded it in their big blue bus and off they went. As it turned out, their visit to Dare County generated four concert engagements.
That evening made an impression on me. It made me think beyond the benefit of entertainment and more about the art of entertainment itself. It made an impression on the musicians who performed that night too. They expressed their thankfulness for the almost continual applause throughout the concert and the genuine show of gratitude. No mistake about it…they serve our country through their beautiful music. They make us want to stand to our feet for America, throw our chest out and defend ‘her’ and our way of life.
June 14 was Flag Day. On that date in 1777 our first flag was adopted. Do you display a United States flag at your home or business? If not, it’s a great time to get one to post, especially with July 4th around the corner! If and when you do, post it proudly and please remember flag protocol and standards of respect. You can find all sorts of references to that on the Internet or perhaps in the packaging when you buy one.
Come on everybody! Let’s show our ‘Stars and Stripes’ boldly and publicly profess our pride in America! Questions? Comments? Remember to write to me at [email protected] . Until next time, be happy, be proud and stay tuned…