Veterans Voices

Air Force band plays tribute to World War II veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) - For America’s World War II veterans, the soundtrack of their youth was the “Great American Songbook” and the big bands of the 40s.

Over the course of 60 years, active-duty Air Force members have helped to keep those memories and music alive through performances of the swing tribute band Airmen of Note.

“The heart of our mission is honoring our veterans. Their Airmen of Note are a centerpiece of that because those veterans love that swing music,” said Band Conductor Colonel Larry Lang.

The Airmen of Note formed in 1950 to continue the legacy of Major Glen Miller, whose big band was a musical hit machine during the 30s and 40s.

Miller joined the service in World War II and took his big band to the troops, eventually losing his life when his plane crashed into the English Channel in 1944.

"Everybody loved his music,” Lang said. “You know ‘In the Mood,’ ‘Tuxedo Junction,’ ‘Chattanooga Choo, Choo.’”

Now, the Airmen of Note use those hits to entertain crowds around the world. They are one of six musical groups in the U.S. Air Force that perform nearly 1500 events each year, including concerts at the White House and funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Air Force veteran Bob Jones served in World War II and the Korean War. He went to Washington D.C. as part of an honor flight from Texas, and after a day of sightseeing he and other veterans attended a special performance by the Airmen of Note.

“It just brought me back to the days when I was dating my wife, right out of high school,” Jones said. “The music is out of this world, and that band is out of this world. You can’t beat that combination.”

Read more about the U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note: https://www.music.af.mil/Bands/The-United-States-Air-Force-Band/Ensembles/Airmen-of-Note


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