The U.S. Coast Guard Band


Sunday was a great day! The best part of it happened at around 6:30, when we ran down to Millenium Park to see the U.S. Coast Guard Band. This was a FREE concert that was put on by the city of Chicago and it was amazing! The venue, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, is just stunning...

It looks like you should be paying big money to see a show there, huh?! But people just camp out on the lawn with a picnic, or sit up close in the red seats and chill! Totally awesome. I love Chicago.

Anyway, the U.S. Coast Guard Band performed flawlessly. There was also an incredible soprano opera singer who sang a few songs with their accompaniment (including "America the Beautiful"). The band played a lot of music from the '20s-'40s, and the fact that they were all wearing their crisp uniforms...I dunno, it just really seemed to bring you back in time.

I'll admit it: I totally bawled during this concert on more than one occasion! The first time was when they played a medley of all the hymns of the U.S. military: the Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, etc. During the medley, when they played--for example--the hymn of the U.S. Navy, they asked all the members of the audience who had served in the Navy to stand up. So with each new segment of the medley, a new set of men stood up out of their seats to be honored. To be in the the midst of men who had given so much for their country was really humbling; I started choking up and before I knew it my mascara was a-runnin'! There was even a recipient of the Medal of Honor in the audience. Did you know that out of the 42 million men and women how have served in the military, only 3,400 have receieved the Medal of Honor? And of those, only 100 are alive? Having one in the audience was more than cool.

I also cried during this one song they did called "Liberty." At certain parts of the song, the director of the band would provide narration...segments from the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, etc. But what really got the water works started was a portion he recited from a letter that Abraham Lincoln wrote. This letter was written Mrs. Bixby, a woman who had lost all five of her sons in the Civil War. These are the words that president Lincoln wrote to her:

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
Abraham Lincoln

As soon as I heard the words "altar of Freedom," I lost it! If I ever become a high school history or government teacher, I hope I can instill within my students the fiery patriotism that inspires men to not only love the USA, but to do good for it. If I can help mold a new generation of the type of men I sat among at that I don't think there would be anything better than that.


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