Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11

I agreed to do a gig for . . . well, it was either for the US Army or the City of Sandy . . . for 9/11 at a place called the Healing Field. The other two pipers who showed up were Ian and Aaron.

About 1700 flags had been set up in a grassy median, each one tied with a yellow ribbon. It was an amazing sight. Let me see if I can get a link.
As always when the Army is involved, it's a case of "hurry up and wait". Colonel McLean kept us entertained with amusing antedotes while we waited for things to start. Guests of honor included the Lieutenant Governor, Miss Utah, and parents and families of Utah soldiers who had died in action. One family had lost their son 6 days ago. They were obviously still struggling to deal with their loss. It was poignant to see them. I had to pointedly not look at them. It's very hard to pipe when you are crying. Major-General Peter Cook also showed up at the last minute, and wanted to address the (small) crowd, and because he was a Major-General, they had to let him. Other people talked, but mostly the speakers were pointed away from us and we couldn't hear them so we just let them talk and we discussed other things.
Finally, after 30 minutes of standing in the wind waiting, it was our turn. The vocal soloist, Kelly (Something) sang some (I think) new words to Green Hills of Tyrol, then we played through it twice at about half speed, then she sang the rest of the verses.
They had the little memorial of boots and an upturned rifle stuck into the ground with a helmet on top. This was set up at one side of . . . well, there wasn't a stage, just a designated center of attention . . . The mothers came up and put their fallen childrens' dogtags on the rifle. They did a roll call, calling off the names of some of the soldiers present, and the last name called was the soldier who had died 6 days ago, Jordan Thiebault. His name was called several times. There was no answering "present!" I was trying hard not to cry. The Thiebault family had been the last to add dogtags. They stayed up there, close together, while a soldier came forward in front of the boots-and-rifle memorial, knelt and bowed his head. That was our cue to start Amazing Grace. I did good. I was successfully able to do the slow roll strike in several times, in unison with Ian and Aaron. I didn't mess up the tunes. We had expected to be out of tune after standing in the wind for so long, but the tuning was pretty good, except for the D. My blowing was good. And I made both cut-offs.
Then I had to rush to the Celtic Center for the last half of my lesson and to pick up Small Son who was patiently waiting after his own lesson and reading his book, Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan.
Jason had a headache and was tied with a short string. Pete teased him that his forehead was bulging. It made him laugh, but I don't think it made his headache feel any better.

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