Utah National Guard hosts 54th Annual Veterans Day concert

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Sterling S. Poulson
The Utah National Guard held its 54th Annual Veterans Day concert Nov. 11 at the University of Utah's Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Soldiers and Airmen, along with many retired military members and their families were in attendance. Wearing their red coats, members of the Honorary Colonels, who helped fund the event, were also in attendance.

Band conductor, Warrant Officer Denny Saunders led the 23rd Army Band in his first Veterans Day concert as its commander, following the retirement of Chief Warrant Officer 3 J. Michael Cottam.

The program featured musical numbers by the band as well as a combined choir. The 23rd Army Band "Rock Band" also performed numbers such as "American Soldier" by Toby Keith, featuring soloist Staff Sgt Ben Jacobsen.

The 700-voice Granite School District high school combined choir was organized by Mr. Clinton Frohm, music curriculum specialist for the Granite School District and a retired military member, and conducted by music directors from each of the high schools.

Senior Master Sgt. Sterling S. Poulson hosted the concert, themed "The Last Full Measure." The concert included remarks by The Adjutant General Major Gen. Brian L. Tarbet and the Assistant Adjutant General for Army Brig. Gen. Jefferson S. Burton.

General Burton spoke about the devotion of the Utah National Guard. "It's my honor to lead the finest men and women in uniform," he said, "and know that they are ready at a moment's notice to give that last full measure of devotion."

The lights in the hall dimmed and under a single spotlight Rod Decker, a KUTV 2News reporter, read the Gettysburg Address. Immediately following the reading, "Taps" rang through the silent hall while people stood in honor of the fallen.

Chief Master Sergeant David Herrscher, a member of the Utah Air National Guard, was in attendance with his 85- year-old father. "It was a great experience to be at the concert with my dad who was in the third wave of soldiers to land at Omaha Beach during World War II. During the Armed Forces Medley, I was able to stand for the Air Force Song and with my dad for the Army Song."