Herndon, VA 20172-1293
Press Release about the trip to France for D-Day 75th Anniversary
Herndon HS Marching Band to represent the USA in Normandy, France
The Herndon High School Band (Pride of Herndon) has been invited to represent the United States at the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France in June 2019. The Pride will be honoring the WWII servicemen and women, our veterans, active duty military and their families.
The Pride of Herndon was recommended for this event by the government and military organizers of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade at Hawaii based on their performance there in 2013, where they also won grand champion. The Pride was initially selected for the event at Pearl Harbor based on recommendations from members of the Marine Band and members of Congress. The head of the parade then “scouted” the Pride online – watching videos, going through their webpage and following them on social media.
“Getting to represent not just Herndon, not just Virginia, but the entirety of the United States will be a life shaping experience for our students,” said Kathleen Jacoby, the band director at Herndon High School. “Not only are they connecting with current day Americans, but we’re asking them to time travel back to 1945 and put themselves in the shoes of the brave men who were on the beaches of Normandy.”
As they march, the Pride will also be paying a special tribute to the brave men of the USS Herndon, the destroyer that led the Allied naval armada in the assault on France and named for Commander William Lewis Herndon, after whom the Town of Herndon, VA is also named. The USS Herndon was launched on 2nd February 1942 by the Norfolk Navy Yard, sponsored by Lucy Herndon Crockett, great-grandniece of Comdr. Herndon. The ship was nicknamed the "Lucky Herndon," because it was never hit by enemy gunfire, despite being targeted by torpedoes, aerial bombardments, and well-fortified German shore batteries. The men of the “Lucky Herndon” were given 10 to 1 odds that they wouldn't come out of D-Day alive. By contrast, Herndon effectively pounded enemy gun emplacements on Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, ahead of our first troop landings there, and was credited with firing the first naval shots of this campaign. Each member of the Pride will carry a photograph of a Herndon crewmember who served during WWII, as they march in Normandy. The marching banner will have a photograph of the ship, and the band will wear baseball caps that say ‘USS Herndon’.
“It is our privilege to honor the men of Herndon. Their service to our countrymen has not been forgotten,” said Margaret Jamborsky, our lead researcher who has so far managed to track down the families of 227 of the 300 men who sailed on the USS Herndon.
"What these students are doing is wonderful," in the words of Tom Wilmore, a USS Herndon veteran whom we lost recently on March 6th, at the age of 92. "It means the world to me that they are honoring me and my shipmates in Normandy."
The Pride of Herndon will play at the American Cemeteries in Brittany and at Omaha Beach, as well as in the D-Day Musical Salute to Liberation. World leaders and hundreds of thousands of local and international attendees will join in honoring the men who died on that fateful day and paying tribute to the remaining survivors. Our students will be able to interact with WWII veterans and local communities to learn about the invasion and the importance of service and sacrifice.