Woolsey Hall, whose marble walls are engraved with the names of over a thousand Yale students who lost their lives in war, hosted a Veteran’s Day concert on Saturday night.
The U.S. Army Field Band, the army’s musical tour group, played songs ranging from the “America the Beautiful” to “La Bamba.” Heads bobbed to the upbeat music and many in the audience closed their eyes when solemn patriotic melodies were played. During intermission, the audience members surveyed the many names etched into the marble walls. The hall was filled with veterans, families and friends of veterans, who said they appreciated their service.
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University Secretary Linda Koch Lorimer gave a short speech before presenting a wreath for soldiers and veterans. She said the celebration was meant to honor the service of current University staff who are veterans, Yale undergraduates who are part of the army reserve and graduates and other veterans who fought for the United States.
During the ceremony, a bell rang and everyone in the audience was asked to state the name of a family member or friend who lost his or her life in a war. Staff handed out different program flyers, each containing the name of a Yalie who died in military service.
Sgt. Douglas Cox, the assistant director of the Army’s Soldiers’ Chorus, a component of the Field Band, said he appreciated the University’s efforts to make the event a memorable one.
“I admire the commitment of Yale to print individual names in the programs,” Sgt. Cox said. “No one’s ever done that before.”
Near the end of the concert, the Field Band performed the anthem of each division of the United States military and asked veterans in the audience to stand when their anthem was played.
The final songs included “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful,” the last of which prompted audience members to stand and sing along. As they filed out at the end of the concert, attendees expressed their thanks to Field Band members who had left the stage.
Many audience members expressed appreciation and satisfaction with the concert, especially with the second half of the program.
Veteran Dave Burns said the event was a meaningful observation of Veteran’s Day.
“I liked the second half better,” he said. “It was more lively and the service songs were very important to the veterans.”
Sally Feldman, a visitor whose husband is a veteran, said she is glad she attended.
“It was outstanding and heart wrenching,” Feldman said. “I choked up seeing the young people in service playing such beautiful songs.”
Allan Schwartz, a veteran of the Korean War, said that he thought the band did “a damn good job.”
Throughout the ceremony, a flag which had been displayed during performances of the Yale Band in World War II hung above the heads of the Army Field Band.