"Memorial ZDay Meemories and Salutes"
My mother would refer to the as "Decoration Day" where visitations to grave sites included memorials to those that died in service to our country. A special salute to veterans and those in service at this time. Dave Brooks was our band director at Riverside High School. Under his tutelage we became one of the best marching bands in Western Pennsylvania. Memorial Day began the summer band marching season. Competitions with other high school bands and drum and bugle corps continued through September. Included in our summer schedules were baseball practices and games. Even when the baseball game was “rained-out,” that wasn’t the case with our rain or shine band competitions. The drum-line consisted of Del Wiley, Jim Zeigler, Jimmy Wilds, Tom Minett and others. With a snare drum strapped to your leg sometimes it was everything we could do to “side-step” what the horses ahead of us left on the parade route. Steven Ambrose’s books, “Band of Brothers” and “D-Day” portrayed the experiences of individual soldiers during World War II. As noted in a previous column, excerpts included references to the difficulties of the elements in America’s victories. “Band of Brothers” became a mini-series on HBO. In addition to Tom Brokaw’s book, “The Greatest Generation,” soldiers of both the European and Pacific Theaters were subjected to extreme weather conditions. The Battle of the Bulge found the soldiers of Easy Company without adequate winter clothing, maneuvering through mud, snow and sub-zero weather. The Steven Spielberg-Tom Hanks production, “Pacific,” also depicted challenging weather conditions where tropical rains slowed the advance of armaments and supplies. These are examples of service and those that served during tough times and tough conditions.