Jacksonville High School to salute veterans through song

By Lisa Burnett Published November 10, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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Senior Airman Austin Dischert plays taps during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Jacksonville Museum of Military History in 2010. This year’s celebration will feature a concert by the Jacksonville High School Choir.

JACKSONVILLE— The Jacksonville Museum of Military History celebrates Veterans Day every year, but this year will be a little different.

On Monday, the museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at no charge; then the Jacksonville High School Choir will present a concert at 7 p.m. to honor those who have fought for freedom.

“This is our first year to do a concert,” said Dannakay Duggar, director of the Jacksonville Museum of Military History. “Chris Cross (director of the Jacksonville High School Choir) approached me with the idea.”

The choir will perform in front of the Arkansas Fallen Heroes Memorial. The memorial is an annual tradition at the museum on Veterans Day.

“It features a flag for each Arkansan who has been killed in the global war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Duggar said. “There’s a picture with each flag and a bio on the soldier.”

Cross said that in September 2012, the choir did an 11-year-anniversary concert commemorating the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America, and community residents asked him what the choir was going to do this year to honor those who have served their country.

“We decided to use Veterans Day as a day to salute our troops through singing,” he said. “We’re going to be singing the theme songs from every branch of the military.”

The choir’s concert, Salute Through Song, will honor all soldiers who currently serve and have served the United States in battle.

Along with singing the theme songs, Cross said the choir will be doing a song to salute prisoners of war and soldiers who are missing in action.

“That song is ‘Song for the Unsung Hero,’” Cross said. “We’re also singing a song for the fallen troops titled ‘Tell My Father.’”

During the song for the fallen troops, Cross said, some of the teachers from Jacksonville High School will play the violin to accompany the choir.

“It’s been great for the students,” he said. “They’ve been able to learn about each branch of the military, and we’ve been talking about the history of different wars.”

Cross said that because the school is so close to the Little Rock Air Force Base, many of his students know a veteran or have immediate family members in the armed services.

“Our students have written papers about why it’s important to salute our troops,” Cross said. “I think it’s important, and we need to show them the gratitude that’s due.”

He says that by teaching his students about the military and Veterans Day, he has learned a lot.

The choir director said he looks forward to paying tribute to the heroes who sacrifice their time and sometimes their lives for their country.

“We go to our jobs every day and live freely,” he said. “We appreciate their sacrifice and respect what they do. It’s honorable on so many levels.”

The concert will last approximately 45 minutes and will feature readings by his students throughout the program, said Cross.

The concert will be held outside the Jacksonville Museum of Military History, 100 Veterans Circle in Jacksonville. More information is available by calling (501) 241-1943.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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