Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Sean Niquette who wrote the song “West Point to Arlington” with #OperationSong. Sean served during the Iraq War.
Sean was born in Texas and grew up in Montana, later graduating high school in Wisconsin. As a sophomore in high school, Sean saw the effects of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack and was motivated to serve his country. He pursued his decision and attended West Point. Sean was deployed to Iraq in 2011 to serve with the last unit in Iraq that year.
Years after his service, Sean found himself in Nashville working with Operation Song after spending time thinking about his friend, Andrew M. Petersen-Keel, who had been killed in Afghanistan in 2013. Sean notes that, “The tragedy there is enormous in a sense that you have this extremely bright, young American guy with a lot of potential and a lot to offer, and great intentions.”
He goes on to speak that Andrew’s death was tragic because it was by someone who didn’t understand or appreciate what the American troops were there to do. Sean used his proximity to Nashville and his song writing desire to contribute to Andrew’s legacy. He seized the opportunity to work with Operation Song after being referred by a friend.
Andrew was a couple years ahead of Sean at West Point and was his squad leader. He was a mentor, brother figure and friend to Sean. Sean was inspired to turn the loss into, “A source for how to live our lives better.” He recognized that it’s a personal journey for everyone. Sean’s goal was to highlight Andrew’s life and live out the opportunities that he unfortunately was not able to. In the song, Sean draws from Andrew’s impact on him and carries on his character through music. It also illustrates the impact Sean’s time in the military has on his life.
You can listen to the tribute here:
Sean now lives in New York with his wife and two daughters, who are the source of his satisfaction and purpose. He spends his time with them and enjoys watching them grow. Sean now works at a commercial bank helping businesses with their financial needs. He is also working on a book about the human experience of modern warfare, consisting of a macroscopic view of war rather than a biographical one.
We honor your service, Andrew, and thank you for your service, Sean.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Operation Song™ has spent the last five years bringing songwriting to the military and Veteran community to help with healing, service-related issues and injuries. A 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Nashville, Operation Song™ holds weekly workshops in Middle Tennessee and sponsors events and group retreats throughout the Southeast. Those they serve need no musical background, only the desire to tell their story. In a typical session, the songwriter listens and encourages the participant to lay out the “puzzle pieces” of his or her experience. Together, they arrange those pieces into verses and choruses. The result is a complete song that they can call their own. Operation Song serves Veterans of all conflicts. For more information about Operation Song™, visit their website: http://www.operationsong.org/
Graphic By Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a Graphic Communication Major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in Graphic Design and Visual Communications.