The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Patriotic concert honors veterans

For Staff Sgt. Christopher Ramirez, Veterans Day is not just any day.

“For me, Veterans Day is a day of remembrance for everyone who has either done something before my time, after my time and those people that I have served with in my 10 years, who are either still here alive and living or those who gave their lives while I was in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Ramirez said.

On Thursday night, students, faculty and community members honored veterans by attending the Eastern Illinois Wind Symphony’s patriotic concert.

The concert, titled “A Call to Duty,” took place in Doudna’s Dvorak Concert Hall and was a special patriotic tribute to the men and women, past and present, who have served in the armed forces.

Amanda Ponkauskas, a senior vocal music education major, attended the concert to pay her respect.

“I think it is important to recognize the people who are willing to do what most of us aren’t,” she said. “They’re doing something bigger than a large portion of the population. I couldn’t do it.”

Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day, a holiday to celebrate the end of World War I. Veterans Day is celebrated annually on November 11, the same day the war ended.

Most Americans confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

For those who confuse the two holidays, Memorial Day honors service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries received during battle, while Veterans Day is a day set aside to honor not only deceased veterans, but also living veterans who served honorably in the military.

“I think it is very important that we honor, thank and remember those who have served in the armed forces of the United States of America,” said Barry Houser, conductor of the Eastern Illinois Wind Symphony. “Veterans Day is but one day out of the entire year to truly be thankful for our freedom and, most importantly, the ultimate sacrifices that our troops are making or that our veterans have made.”

“A Call to Duty” happens annually on or around Veterans Day. Houser and the Wind Symphony have been preparing for the event for a little over a month.

“The idea of this concert is a logical one. It falls during our second cycle of presenting a concert so the timing is perfect, and thus seeing the relationship to Veterans Day, the choice to do a Veterans Day Tribute was a no-brainer,” Houser said. “It is also an excellent way to bring in the community in addition to our Eastern community to stress and celebrate the importance of this holiday.”

This year’s concert contained a variety of music along with special guests. Faculty members Andrew Cheetham, the assistant trumpet professor; Dwight Vaught, the assistant dean of programming for the College of Arts and Humanities; Todd French, a tuba instructor; and Katherine McBain, a horn instructor played along with the symphony on a piece called “American Tableau.”

The Women of the University Mixed Chorus directed by Janet McCumber also joined the symphony during “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Another highlight of the night was when the veterans in the audience were asked to stand while their branch’s song played during the “Armed Forces Salute.”

“Veterans Day is a time to remember everyone that has gone before us: family, friends, colleagues and everyone that is to come,” said Ann Boehlefeld, an Eastern student veteran. “It’s a time to say thank you, because if you look back at my grandfather’s generation, the generation of WWII, they got the thank you’s, but if you look at my brothers and sisters in arms, they don’t get the thank you’s because they go off in ones and twos.”

Cassie Bartolucci can be reached at 581-7942 or [email protected]

Patriotic concert honors veterans

Patriotic concert honors veterans

Andy Boland, Jay Kelliher and Phil Maro play “Suite of Old American Dances” during Eastern Illinois University Wind Symphony “A Call To Duty” performance Thursday evening in the Dvorak Concert Hall in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.(Audrey Sawyer


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