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Staff Sgt. Matthew Koscheski, a member with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band, performs "Taps" for hundreds of people at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Building in Lakeside, Calif., May 31. The event was part of a Memorial Day ceremony which commemorated fallen service members.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Alexandra M. Harris

3rd MAW Band honors fallen service members

8 Jun 2010 | Lance Cpl. Alexandra M. Harris

Every year people across the country observe Memorial Day, and the families of Lakeside had the chance to honor service members with the band of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, May 31.

The 3rd MAW Band performed for hundreds of people during a memorial ceremony at the Lakeside Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Building that has commemorated fallen service members for 64 years.

For the ceremony, the musicians played patriotic songs including “God Bless America,” “This is My Country,” “Stars and Stripes,” “America the Beautiful,” “Georgia” and “The Marines’ Hymn.”

“I love the Marine Corps band,” said the VFW post’s Jr. Vice Commander Gaylend Zahn. “They do an awesome job every year. I’m also part of the military family which makes us brothers and sisters in arms.”

Memorial Day is about having both past and present service members together to remember fallen comrades, added Zahn. That’s why it’s important to have the band here because they represent today’s military.

Most people have known someone who has passed away in war, explained Staff Sgt. Edward Thiroux, a member of the 3rd MAW Band. This day is for them to both celebrate and mourn those people. When the band plays, it helps pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Following the ceremony, the band performed a final song to commemorate the event. With trumpet player Staff Sgt. Matthew Koscheski leading, the musicians played “Taps” as all of the veterans saluted the American flag.

Afterward, the crowd had the chance to shake the hands of all of the service members who attended the ceremony.

In addition to the band, the VFW Memorial Building also had displays including a Navy helicopter out of Naval Air Station North Island, a helicopter from the local sheriff’s department and fire trucks from the local fire department.

“I really enjoyed the event,” said Thiroux. “The crowd really got into it and clapped with a lot of the music. The band adds a good dynamic and for me it was pretty special.”

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3rd Marine Aircraft Wing