The proud Bryan High School Viking Band and Color Guard recently earned the distinction of being the ‘lone’ band to represent the Lone Star state in the 2014 National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C.—but the group will need strong community support to get there.
Slated for May 26, the parade holds a special significance because it commemorates the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion during World War II.
Viking Band leaders say they must raise between $125,000 and $150,000, or about $1,500 per student, to pay for travel, lodging and food. Each band student participating in the parade will be required to provide funds for a portion of their trip, be it from a family contribution or money they make through various fundraising events. The band will not be able to cover the entire cost of the trip without donations from individuals and businesses, says Monica Merritt, Bryan Viking Band Boosters Co-President.
The Bryan Viking Band Boosters is a parent-led organization that supports the band through volunteer and fundraising activities. The group hopes to raise the majority of the travel funds by the end of this year.
Donation and parade information are posted on the band’s website, at www.bryanvikingband.org.
“Our kids are incredibly proud to have been chosen to represent the entire state in a national parade,” says Marie DeBellis, Viking Band Assistant Director. “But more than instilling pride, this trip will give these students the opportunity to learn more about American history, government and patriotism first-hand through educational field trips they will take, and the veterans and national leaders they will meet while they are in Washington, D.C. Many of our students have never traveled outside of the Bryan-College Station area. This trip may be their only opportunity to visit our nation’s capital.”
Sponsored by the American Veterans Center in Arlington, Va., the National Memorial Day Parade brings together select marching bands and veteran units from each of the 50 states for a three-hour procession on Constitution Avenue between 7th St. and 17th St, alongside the National Mall. The parade, which also features large patriotic floats and helium-filled balloons, honors veterans who served in both World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, Desert Storm, and the liberations of Grenada, Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 10,000 people participate in the parade each year.