Columbus North High School marching band members are reflecting fondly on last week’s trip to Washington, D.C., which one student described as being a whirlwind of events.

The opportunity to participate in the presidential inauguration parade was enjoyable, but visiting historic sites such as Arlington National Cemetery during the trip was also memorable, said Grace Hester, a senior with the Sound of North.

The 149-member band made a stop at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday morning, where drum majors Kathleen Haegele, Brittany Davis and Ciaran Hill participated in a wreath-laying ceremony.

Hester, who said she had seen the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on a previous trip, described the experience as different now that she is older.

Story continues below gallery

Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

“It took on a new meaning for me this time around and I think it carried more weight for me,” she said.

Friday’s parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capitol also stood out for Hester, who was able to spot President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, a 1977 Columbus North graduate, at the end of the parade route. Hester said she thought she would never see Trump up close.

“Anytime that you see somebody of that authority in person, it’s a little intimidating, but a little awe-inspiring,” she said.

Sound of North band members also got to bring home a lanyard that they were given at the parade to wear.

Band leaders, parent chaperones and students arrived back in Columbus early Sunday morning and Hester said he was still a bit tired Monday afternoon from the four-day trip — including 10 hours on a travel coach each way.

“I think the excitement of that day, the adrenaline and everything kind of helped us with any lack of sleep,” Hester said.

Jacob Lowe, another senior, described the opportunity for the Sound of North to perform alongside many different organizations as a humbling experience.

Lowe also said going to Arlington National Cemetery also stands out in his mind as one aspect of the trip he enjoyed the most.

“The magnitude of how important it was for our own American history and being able to properly witness the Changing of the Guard and the wreath-laying ceremony of our own wreath from Columbus North High School was also pretty humbling and amazing,” Lowe said.

Lowe traveled with the Sound of North in Hawaii to perform on the USS Missouri last spring and said the recent trip to Washington, D.C., stood out for him.

“It felt like we had more of a national outreach towards people … and being able to march down Pennsylvania Avenue with our band felt like we were actually making our mark in our world and in our nation,” Lowe said.

Tim Cox, a third senior, described the trip as a whirlwind of events.

“There was a lot of stuff happening all the time punctuated by long periods of waiting,” Cox said.

Cox said among all the destinations that he was able to visit, he most enjoyed the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery, designed by I.M. Pei, the architect who also designed the Bartholomew County Public Library in Columbus. Cox plans to study architecture in college at Ball State University or Virginia Tech University.

“It was very inspiring to me and a breathtaking building,” Cox said of the National Gallery.

Pull Quote

“It took on a new meaning for me this time around and I think it carried more weight for me.”

Columbus North senior Grace Hester on her second visit to Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Pull Quote

“It was very inspiring to me and a breathtaking building.”

— Columbus North senior Tim Cox of the National Gallery

Pull Quote

“Being able to properly witness the Changing of the Guard and the wreath-laying ceremony of our own wreath from Columbus North High School was also pretty humbling and amazing.”

— Columbus North senior Jacob Lowe on visit to Arlington National Cemetery

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com