Sept. 19, 2013 -- This Friday, Sept. 20, the Marine Band will perform a special concert at Gettysburg National Military Park in
Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s (CMOHS) annual convention.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and of the Battle of
Gettysburg, where 63 men received Medals of Honor (MoH). In addition, 2013 is the 55th anniversary of President
Dwight D. Eisenhower chartering the CMOHS.
A bill was passed on Dec. 21, 1861, authorizing 200 medals to be produced “which shall be bestowed upon
such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and marines as shall distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action
and other seamanlike qualities during the present war.” President Lincoln signed the bill and the Medal of
Honor was born. As of Aug. 28, 2013, the number of living Medal of Honor recipients is at 79—its lowest point
The Foundation’s 2013 convention seeks to highlight and celebrate the MoH recipients, but also to honor the
history of Gettysburg and its connection to the MoH. In keeping with the theme, Marine Band Director Colonel
Michael J. Colburn has chosen a diverse program representing the different conflicts in America’s history to
include “Chester,” John Philip Sousa’s march “Solid Men to the Front!,” music from the television series “Band
of Brothers,” a medley of popular music from the World War II era called Sentimental Journey, and a musical
depiction of the Gettysburg Address.
This isn’t the first time the Marine Band has traveled to Gettysburg for an event commemorating war heroes.
On Nov. 18, 1863, the band accompanied President Abraham Lincoln when he traveled to Gettysburg by train
for the dedication of the National Cemetery. President Lincoln had a fondness for the band and a budding
friendship with then-Marine Band Leader Francis Scala.
President Eisenhower officially recognized the CMOHS on Aug. 5, 1958, combining the previous Medal of
Honor Legion and Medal of Honor Society. The purposes of the organization were to create a bond of brotherhood
and comradeship among all living recipients of the MoH; maintain the memory and respect for those
who had died receiving the MoH, as well as those living recipients who had since died; protect and preserve the dignity and honor of the MoH; protect the name of the MoH as well as individual recipients from exploitation;
provide assistance and aid to needy recipients; promote patriotism and allegiance to the government and
Constitution of the United States; and to foster patriotism and inspire and stimulate youth to become worthy
citizens. The CMOHS Foundation was created more recently to promote awareness of America’s highest military
award for valor in combat.
The concert will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20, at the Pennsylvania Monument in the Gettysburg
National Military Park in Pennsylvania. Although this event is free, tickets are required. Transportation
will be provided from both the Eisenhower Hotel parking lot and the Gettysburg High School parking lot where
tickets will be scanned and collected. Patrons will not be permitted to enter the concert site if their ticket has
not been scanned. The last shuttle will depart from the parking lots at 6:15 p.m.; there will be no other mode
of transportation for latecomers.