UTSA band and alumnus-pilot participate in D-Day salute in Normandy

UTSA marching band
alum and family

Top photo: UTSA Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band
Bottom photo: UTSA alumnus Captain Ruskin Herrera at air base with wife Marie and son Talin

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(June 6, 2014) -- This morning, President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron are joining national and military leaders from around the world in Normandy, France, to mark the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. The day is forever known for the Allied invasion of German-occupied France and the beginning of the liberation of Europe and Nazi Germany.

To commemorate the event, a special Memorial Parade and Musical Salute to the Veterans is taking place with 70 D-Day survivors expected to attend. The top-tier UTSA Spirit of San Antonio (SOSA) marching band is the only U.S. university band performing at the commemorative event.

SOSA will perform the national anthems from both the United States and France and participate in a mass band performance of "The Longest Day March." Tomorrow, the SOSA marching band will also will perform in a mass band performance of "Amazing Grace" on Omaha Beach.

In addition to the SOSA musical contributions, UTSA '04 alumnus Captain Ruskin Herrera will be part of the Air Force flyover. Herrera and his team members will be flying F-15E Strike Eagle fighters from a base in Lakenheath, England. Herrera comes from a nest of Roadrunners including his father Caleb Herrera, M.S. '81, sister Denia Herrera Burkhard '06, M.A. '09, and sister Astrid Herrera Sierra '13.

Seventy years ago during World War II, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of beaches along the French coastline to fight Nazi German soldiers. By day's end, the Allied forces recaptured Normandy, which began the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers representing the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Poland were killed or wounded in the invasion.

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Read more about the UTSA Spirit of San Antonio marching band performance in Normandy, France.

View a live video stream of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day Memorial Parade and Musical Salute to the Veterans.

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