Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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May 19, 2014

Band hits road for patriotic trip — A few dozen of Pauls Valley’s band members are about to get very patriotic with a special trip that hits the road in just a few days.

Their destination is the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.

Planned for some time now the band will take part in a national parade on Memorial Day right down Constitution Avenue.

“This is something I thought would be important for the kids, not so much on the performance but the historical aspect,” said band director Drew Etheredge.

“We will do our best to represent not just our school but our state,” he said.

The trip begins a few hours after Pauls Valley’s graduation ceremony this Friday night.

Band members and others will get on a charter bus Saturday and drive about 24 hours to D.C.

In the past the local band joined many others to experience the pageantry of taking part in the entertainment offered at various football bowl games.

This Washington trip is even bigger as about 200,000 people are expected to watch the holiday parade, where PV’s band will play a medley of patriotic songs as they march the long parade route.

Etheredge stresses the parade is only the beginning as students will get the chance to take in so much of the city’s sites and history.

“This is a great educational trip for our kids,” he said.

“There are some of these kids that won’t travel much out of Garvin County. My job as a teacher is to expose the kids to as much culture as I can.

“The kids will get to see places like Ford’s Theater, the Smithsonian museums and all the memorials.

“It should be a special trip for the kids.”

Plans also include students taking part in a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, while four of the PV kids will get the chance to go down into the guards’ quarters.

During the ceremony a wreath with Pauls Valley’s name on it will be placed on the tomb.

An unexpected and added bonus comes in the form of a flag purchased by the PV group.

That flag has been selected to fly over the U.S. Capitol building on Memorial Day, which this year is Monday, May 26.

“We went through our congressman and requested Memorial Day,” Etheredge said, referring to U.S. Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma.

“We got it, so our flag will actually fly over the Capitol that day.

“They’ll fly the flag that day and ship it to us later so we can have it as a keepsake.”

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