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Veterans Day
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Thursday, November 07, 2013
J.L. Robb

November 11 will be Veterans Day in the United States. Other countries also commemorate this holiday on November 11 by different names, ie. Remembrance Day and Armistice Day.

Though World War I, The Great War, ended with the Treaty of Versailles, June 28, 1919, the actual shooting stopped several months earlier with a cease fire agreement between Germany and the Allied nations, on November 11 at 11:00 AM, the eleventh day of the eleventh month at eleven o’clock in the morning. “The war to end all wars” became the theme of that November 11, 1918 agreement.

Veterans, no matter what country, are very special people. I know from experience that U.S. veterans work long and grueling hours for low pay, they enter danger zones willingly in order to assure good wins over evil; and they really do try their best to win hearts and minds. The military history in the United States is one of helping others who are oppressed, not conquering other governments or empires. Some may beg to differ, but the facts stand.

I had a great experience last weekend in Charleston, South Carolina. Actually it was North Charleston, a separate entity. I was invited to make a 4-minute video to be shown at the 2013 Salute to our Military concert by the 80-piece North Charleston POPS! orchestra. This was the second year in a row that I had that honor. When the video played on the large screen above this fantastic orchestra as they played the theme song from On Golden Pond, there was not a dry eye to be seen.

This year’s video, like the previous year, had photos of soldiers doing what soldiers do. This year, I approached friends on facebook who had family members serving in the military to send me photos, and they did. I wish I could’ve used them all, but there’s always next year. Many are now included in this video, Salute to our Military; and I hope you will watch and share with your friends. God bless our soldiers and our veterans.

How did I get in such a position of honoring our soldiers? It is one of those mysteries that God sometimes weaves through our lives, and we don’t even know it’s happening.

In 2010 I started writing Book 1 of my 7-book series about the end of things as we now know them to be. When I was finishing The End The Book: Part One (takes a lot of parts to end the world!), I decided I wanted to have a book trailer made (think movie trailer) that I could post to give potential readers a preview.

My heart was set on a song from a Puccini opera, Nessun Dorma. You’ve all heard it before. I wanted to find the music performed by trumpet, and there were many examples available. While doing research on how to get a license to use the music, I began thinking about one of my best friends in high school, Darrell Edwards. I hadn’t seen or heard from Darrell since graduating in 1965, but Darrell was the best trumpet player I had ever heard; and I was pretty good myself. I Googled Darrell, figuring he would be easy enough to find; and in 2010 we renewed our longtime friendship. I went to high school with two prodigies. One was Pete Maravich and the other was Darrell Edwards, who went on to play solo trumpet in the West Point band.

One day I was telling Darrell about my book trailer plight, and he said, “Do you want me to play it for you?” I asked him if he still played trumpet, and he said he could probably play Nessun Dorma in his sleep. You can hear him in the background of the Book 1 trailer.

When Book 2 was almost complete, again I wanted a Puccini opera background for the trailer, O mio babbino caro; and Darrell suggested his wife Tacy play it on flute for me. Tacy is a flutist in the Charleston Symphony and the Bowling Green Kentucky Symphony and was a 2011 Grammy Nominee. I still use her music for book signings.

A couple of years ago, Tacy mentioned that she was helping start an orchestra, the North Charleston POPS! I didn’t pay much attention at the time, and really had no idea how Tacy always did what she said she would do.

A couple of months later, Tacy asked if I would consider making a video for their premiere concert, A Salute to Veterans. I had no idea how to make a video, but daughter Erica came to my rescue. She makes videos for a living. I did and the rest is history. At this year’s performance, last week on November 2, Darrell invited a group of trumpeters to bring their trumpets and play TAPS on stage with the orchestra.

I got the old trumpet out, cleaned the spider webs out of the bell and started practicing. It’s really not like riding a bicycle, and it took quite an effort to play those 24 notes without splitting the high-G. I made it through TAPS without embarrassing myself and just couldn’t believe how good I felt, how honored.


Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

Thanks and praise, for our days,
'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky;
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Sun has set, shadows come,
Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds
Always true to the promise that they made.

While the light fades from sight,
And the stars gleaming rays softly send,
To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

Thank you soldiers and veterans who protect our soil, thanks to the North Charleston POPS! for inviting my daughter Erica (she designed the entire program) and me to be a part; but mostly, thank you God for weaving these wonderful mysteries in my life.

The time is nigh.

About J.L. Robb

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