South Jones Memorial Day Parade Blog

Follow JCJC Drum Major Ashton Robertson as she and the JCJC Marching Band head to Washington D.C. to perform in the Memorial Day Parade.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Memorial Day!

Well, the big day finally arrived! We got up early Monday morning so that we would have time to see a few more memorials before the parade. The first thing we went to was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s memorial- Seven and a half ACRES of marble, statues and waterfalls! It was beautiful and covered with his most famous quotes and histories of his greatest deeds. We then walked down the sidewalk to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. It was simply gigantic. From there we had a clear view of both the White House and the Washington Monument. After that, everyone went to the hotel to rest up for the parade. We got in our places to practice about an hour before the parade began and then we marched toward Constitution Avenue. It was really amazing to hear our drums echoing off the National Archives building and looking over at the National Mall next to us as we performed. I will never forget that experience. The rain held off, amazingly, until the exact moment we finished performing, then it began to sprinkle! We went to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to eat and to hear a fantastic concert from the Yale School of Music. The concert included everything from a classical guitarist to an amazing piano player to a string quartet. It was scary good. After the concert was over, we finally got to see the Iwo Jima Memorial statue. I had personally been looking forward to that one, and it was without a doubt everything we had been hoping to see. Everyone was super tired that night, and we slept very well.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Our First Day

Sunday was our first full day of sightseeing in Washington. We got up early and spent the morning at Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home on the Pontotoc. It was a beautiful place and we had a lot of fun looking around the grounds. Our tour guides went with us and shared their knowledge of all things history! Next we went to Arlington National Cemetery, and I can honestly say that is the most awe-inspiring thing I have ever seen in my whole life. Over 300,000 people who served our country are buried there. Our tour guides have been the most helpful people ever on this trip. Touring our capital with them has been like one fun history lesson. We went to see the tomb of the unknown soldier and witnessed the changing of the guard. It started to rain while we were there but it was worth being wet and walking a mile without question just to see that ceremony. Those soldiers never blinked or stumbled, even with the rain. While we were there we actually found the grave of Medgar Evers and learned more about him. Next, we went to the White House to look at it and take some pictures. We didn't actually get to go inside but it was still awesome to see! After eating some very good hamburgers at Fuddrucker's we went to the 20th annual Memorial Day National Symphony Orchestra Concert on the lawn of The Capitol. That was simply amazing. They told the story of a wounded soldier and they had some famous singers come in. When we got back to the hotel, Mr. Adams let the seniors each have a minute to speak their minds just on their experiences in band and any advice they had for upcoming kids. It was a very emotional time because we were all realizing just how close we have become through the years we've had together. And since the next day was our last performance with these seniors, emotions were already high. It was a very fun, very long day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

We Spent 19 Hours on a Bus But Now We Have ARRIVED!!


Well, yesterday we loaded all our stuff onto the charter buses-in the rain-and headed out. About 4 hours from D.C. bus No. 2 lost its air conditioning. That wasn't quite enjoyable for the people on that bus, but it was quickly fixed. We arrived in Washington around 3:00 pm and the first thing we did was take showers! That, I assure you, was the most refreshed any of us have ever felt. Our hotel is called the Marriott Crystal Gateway and it's just outside D.C. in Virginia. We ate pizza in a nice little place called Magill's Pizza & Buffet and then we went right on to tour some of the famous monuments! On the way, we passed the Pentagon and it was easy to see the difference in color where the wall was replaced after it was attacked on September 11. The first memorial we went to was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Nearby was the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the National World War II Memorial. It was quite amazing how awe-inspiring these places were, especially the Korean and Vietnam Memorials. Hardly anyone spoke there, simply out of respect and admiration of the men who sacrificed so much. There's no better word for the Lincoln Memorial than gigantic! It is impossibly huge. We have three large groups that go about and sightsee together. Each group has its own tour guide that gives us the background and history of the places we go to see.
It's been a long, but fun, day. All we've done so far in Washington is sightsee and I am probably speaking for all of us when I say the parade Monday wasn't at the forefront of our minds today. We just wanted to get off the bus and see what there is to see here!
I had to include a few pictures of us on the bus because that's honestly where we have spent most of our time so far! Hopefully tomorrow I will have some more variation in background material!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Getting Ready to Go!

Today was the South Jones Band's final day of practice before we load up Friday and head to Washington D.C. We've been getting ready for this trip for a long time, and now it's almost here! We marched today for about an hour in the school parking lot, and it sure is going to be nice marching in DC, surrounded by historical places most of us have only seen on TV before!
Just to introduce myself, my name is Ashton Robertson and I'm one of South Jones' two drum majors. I am a junior there, and I play the saxophone.