U.S. Observes 80th Anniversary Of Attack On Pearl Harbor

Jacksonville State University’s Marching Southerners have been invited to be part of the 80th anniversary commemorations in France of World War II’s allied invasion of Europe.

The observance will take place in Normandy in June 2024.

The band will perform along with other ensembles, choirs and JROTC students in public ceremonies memorializing those killed in the fighting. One event will take place June 6, 2024 at St. James American Cemetery, and the second on June 7 at Normandy American Cemetery.

JSU Marching Southerners

Drum major Daniel O'Donnell led the Marching Southerners in front of the U.S.S. Missouri in Hawaii in December 2016 in a performance honoring the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

On June 8, the band will participate in a parade starting in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the first village to be liberated by American troops.

Band leadership notified students on Tuesday that the Southerners will participate in the ceremonies, organized by the D-Day Commemoration Committee.

“This will be an amazing experience for our students,” Ken Bodiford, JSU director of bands, said. “We are honored to help salute the brave men and women who fought to liberate Western Europe and turn the tide of World War II.”

The Southerners have participated in other large scale celebrations in recent years. The band was part of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in London in 2012, and performed near the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Hawaii in 2016 for the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 2019, the Southerners marched in the World Peace Day Parade in the Vatican, receiving a blessing from Pope Francis.

The Marching Southerners also received the Sudler Trophy from the John Phillip Sousa Foundation in December, which is awarded every two years. JSU is the smallest university ever to win the trophy, described as the “Heisman Trophy of the collegiate band world,” since the awards program was created 40 years ago.

Source : https://www.al.com/news/anniston-gadsden/2022/01/jsu-marching-southerners-to-perform-at-80th-anniversary-of-d-day-ceremonies.html

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