Following the success of a Memorial Day video in 2020, the Air Force Band was back at Culpeper National Cemetery in Virginia April 26 to shoot a video for Memorial Day 2021.

The band returned to the site to pay respect and film a tribute to those who lost their lives in war.

“First off, it’s just utterly beautiful out here,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Brest, the producer and editor. “It’s a great place to pay respects and see the cemetery.”

Playing the hymn “Going Home,” the band brought in a bagpiper and elements from the Ceremonial Brass for the video shoot. Using a jib, the band shot multiple passes among the grave markers of buried service members. The band releases the video prior to Memorial Day.

The finished, two-minute video includes a video message from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., said Brest, trumpet section leader for Ceremonial Brass. He hopes the band’s video will help people to remember the fallen.

“I think it helps bring a really strong message of support,” Brest said. “Right now, especially with as trying as the times are in the world, it’s nice to see something that is kind of getting back to a feeling of where we were before and really bring people back together.”

Brest said Air Force Band members always feel the solemness of playing in a cemetery. They frequently play in Arlington National Cemetery.

“The weight is always there,” he said. “It really feels like when you come to work here that you can’t help but really just give it everything that you have and want to really express what all this means.”

The band’s visit is a fitting tribute for Memorial Day and teaches people about the National Cemetery Administration, or NCA, mission, said Jason Hogan, Culpeper National Cemetery director.

“It almost acts like an outreach event for the NCA to bring awareness of not only Culpeper National Cemetery, but the other 154 national cemeteries throughout the country,” Hogan said.

Watch last year’s video

Last year’s video, also shot in Culpeper, featured Tech. Sgt. Jason Covey playing Taps.

By Air Force Veteran Adam Stump is a member of VA's Digital Media Engagement team.

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Published on May. 3, 2021

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One Comment

  1. Dennis Tianello May 10, 2021 at 6:31 pm

    Thanks to everyone!!! Adam it is always a pleasure to hear you play and show that unwavering respect for all of the service men and woman that you have the honor to play for.

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