Military Connection: A New Type of Holiday Carol: By Joe Silva

songMusic is a very important part of celebrating holidays. Just as carols can bring out the spirit of Christmas, a good patriotic anthem can get an American’s blood pumping for their country during patriotic holidays, including Veterans Day and Independence Day.

Michael Souders, a music teacher at Colonial Heights, Virginia’s Tussing Elementary School, has been instrumental in expressing the true spirit of Veterans Day through song. Back in 2009, Souders posted a video on Youtube featuring students from Tussing Elementary singing a song that he and his wife, Angela, wrote, called “Thank You, Soldiers!” The video has more than 2.5 million likes. Souders offered the sheet music to schools across the nation, and scores of schools have used it over the last few years.

For Veterans Day, 2014, Mr. Souders composed a new piece called “I Still Believe.” Souders posted a video on Youtube of Tussling Elementary School’s third graders singing this newest devotional to Veterans and service members. The beauty of the message is perfectly captured in the sweet voices of the singers.

It is amazing how many Americans find ways to support Veterans through their talents. I commend Mr. Souders for using his as both a composer and educator to provide these gifts of song to Veterans. Mr. Souders has generously offered up the sheet music to everyone,  with a link to it from the video.

In reply to an individual who questioned Souders’ sincerity with the first video, he replied, “…I say for our country to show our care and gratitude to you all, we all are different, so we ‘do what we do’ to show it. Doctors will give aid, philanthropists will give millions, contractors will build and renovate veterans” homes, engineers will design things to help the injured, and MUSICIANS WILL WRITE SONGS OF GRATITUDE. All of it put together is what counts….”

Well, this Veteran is impressed, as I feel that I am another individual “doing what I do” to help my comrades, through my writing. I have spent many a Veterans Day and Independence Day, and every other holiday, deployed *or* otherwise away from home. I remember Guantanamo Bay, 2008, playing patriotic songs on my laptop and amplifying them to my band of buddies using speakers that I bought at the exchange. My time off, after working on those holidays, were spent listening to patriotic songs with my deployment family, talking about home with my comrades, all of us singing along proudly, though not very well.

I like to envision that my comrades who are still serving will add Mr. Souders’ songs to their playlists for similar occasions, and that at barbecues and gatherings across the nation, the voices of children will sing along with the patriots from their generation.

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Military Connection: A New Type of Holiday Carol: By Joe Silva