Photo courtesy U.S. Army Military District of Washington
The U.S. Army Band, Pershing's Own, from Washington, D.C. performs its finale during its musical tribute Oct. 6 to New York City heroes on the stage at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.
The huge stage at the cavernous Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center was filled with more than 100 musicians when the U.S. Army Band, Pershing's Own, from Washington, D.C. paid tribute to the New York City heroes. Draped and hanging behind them was an enormous U.S. flag that completely covered the back of the stage (see photo above).
Led by Leader and Commander Col. Gary F. Lamb and Sgt. Maj. Gordon M. Slaymaker, the band performed mostly patriotic music to honor the New York City heroes the police, fire department and soldiers who have been working at Ground Zero for days on end looking for survivors and victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Joining the band with their majestic sounds were the U. S. Army Herald Trumpets. They played a heroic fanfare to the New York police, firefighters and the Transit Authority.
Also featured were the U.S. Army Strolling Strings, who marched out into the audience playing such songs as Autumn in New York, On Broadway, and New York, New York. The U.S. Army Brass Quintet also performed later adding their distinct sound to the performance. They played Fanfare for Friends, In the Park, and America the Beautiful. At the conclusion, the U.S. Army Chorus joined in singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
The winner of the Youth Artist from New York annual contest was also honored and performed. Runners up joined the band at the conclusion.
Also participating was Retired Army Gen. Jack Keene, former 29th Vice Chief of Staff, originally from New York, who addressed the 90 percent filled auditorium.
We are here to pay tribute to the police, the fire department, victims and New Yorkers, he said. We saw the American spirit when the firefighters and police so willingly risked their lives to save lives in their sense of duty. This is true honor. You can't buy this devotion or put a price tag on it.
I was at the Pentagon, too, and saw the soldiers and civilians helping there was genuine heroism on the part of our soldiers and civilians. Like you, New Yorkers, we grieve.
Also, sitting in the audience was former Secretary of the Army Togo West.
The musical tribute was so moving and almost spiritual that the audience begged for more at the conclusion. Many audience members were wiping tears from their eyes.
Words cannot adequately describe the sense of patriotism and the mood in that beautiful hall on that sunny Saturday afternoon in New York.