TROY – For more than a decade, Troy University’s Sound of the South Marching Band has been honoring the nation’s veterans, active duty, reserve and National Guard personnel each football season with a special “Salute to Armed Forces Day” halftime show.
This year’s celebration on Nov. 10, when the Trojans host the midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy, highlights each service branch and focuses the spotlight on the U.S. Marine Corps, which will celebrate its 237th birthday.
“First, it’s the right thing to do,” said Dr. Mark Walker, Director of Bands at TROY. “The men and women of the military are giving us the ability to enjoy our freedom at home and we should recognize their service and loyalty to our country.” That service reaches into the band itself, which currently counts about a half-dozen members of the armed services among the band’s roster. More members than that have close family connections to the military.
“One young lady will miss some band events in order to see her fiancé graduate Marine basic training, another has a mother who is deploying to Afghanistan,” Walker said. “Our support of the military also supports our own.” Veterans, active duty military, Reservists and National Guardsmen will be afforded a free ticket to the game, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Their guests will be eligible to purchase a discounted general admission ticket for $15. Regular general admission tickets that day are $25.
A “special military will call” will be available at the Riddle Pace Field ticket office at the Lott Baseball Complex, just outside Veterans Memorial Stadium. To purchase tickets in advance, call the Trojan Ticket Office at 334-670-3680, 877-878-WINS or email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org
During the halftime show, each service member – past or present – will have the opportunity to join their comrades on the field to march during each service branch’s anthem. In addition, Dr. Walker said the band would “pay a little more attention” to Marines with the inclusion of special music such as John Phillip Sousa’s 1889 “Semper Fidelis March.”
The pre-game show will feature the “Navy Hymn” and a prayer offered by a Navy chaplain.