NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The allied invasion of of the French coast on June 6, 1944 was a major step towards freeing Europe form the grip of the Nazis, and now 80 years later the St. Augustine Marching 100 will help celebrate the iconic event.
According to a release sent by the school, (the band)has been invited to the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Liberation of Europe. This historic program will take place in Normandy, France in June 2024. The Marching 100 will perform as part of the American Musical Salute to Liberation on the main stage in Sainte-Mere Eglise which was the first village liberated by American Paratroopers during the allied invasion of German-occupied France. They will then march in the D-Day Memorial Parade in front of thousands of enthusiastic and ever grateful French citizens. The performance as part of the memorial ceremonies at both the Normandy American Cemetery and the Brittany American Cemetery, will most certainly be a highlight.
Ray Johnson, Marching 100 Director of Bands said, “One of the main things is that we all support our veterans, and we’re definitely looking to be the ambassadors that we are around the world and our nation. it’s going to be special, so there a lot of preparations. we’re like a year and a half out.”
The invite happened with the help of St. Aug alum Don Francisco, but school President and CEO Aulston Taylor said that the trip would also be an educational opportunity for the students.
According to Taylor, “What they have in the classroom in history will now happen for them in real time for them to be able to see it and absorb it. We’re working with Steven Watson CEO of the World War II Museum on a stem curriculum that is all tied into history, math , science, and English.”
The Marching 100 will perform in 10 Mardi Gras parades this season.
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Taylor also stated that the school is undertaking a massive fundraising effort to pay for the trip, “It is going to take a yeoman’s effort on fundraising to make this a beautiful reality, but we’re committed to getting this done and giving our young men a tremendous experience. This will probably be a lot of their first time going out of the country, let along getting on a plane.”