VERNAL, Utah — The Uintah High School Marching Band is bringing the sounds of the Beehive State to Hawaii.
Students in the band and orchestra will participate in the annual Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade on Dec. 7 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S.
Uintah will serve as Utah's representative in the parade, which features participants from every state in the country.
The band was invited to play at this event several years ago. The trip was approved by the school board in early 2019.
“It’s something they can’t — you can't duplicate in a classroom,” said Brian Gibson, the director of instrumental music at Uintah High School.
Fifty-seven students are making the trip. They spent months fundraising and working for the money to pay their own way.
“It’s finally paying off,” said Piper Runnels, a senior in the color guard. “The 40-hour weeks I have worked as a high schooler and then just finally being able to go — I am so excited.”
Until now, these students have connected with this moment of American history through archived film footage and written accounts in history textbooks. This journey will allow them to get an up-close look at the sacrifices that were made so many years ago.
“See what people have done for us that made it able for us to get there,” Runnels described when asked why the trip is important.
“I don't think any of us alive today can possibly understand what those guys went through,” Gibson added. “To hear their stories firsthand, it gives you a clue, an inkling of what it is they did for us in that war.”
The parade will take place along the streets of Waikiki and, according to organizers, "is intended to unite generations in a meaningful event that honors WWII veterans and Pearl Harbor survivors, while educating and inspiring the young Americans who will join together to salute them."