The town of Marion will welcome the 29th Division Band, Virginia Army National Guard as part of the community's commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day the following day.
Known as "The Governor's Own," the 29th Division Band will perform a variety of tunes from Broadway show hits to timeless patriotic numbers in a free concert on Sunday, June 2, at 3 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre. This is the third appearance of the band in Marion, and the free tickets are available from any VFW member or at the Lincoln Theatre. A limited number of seats will be available show night on a first-come basis.
The 29th Division Band, Virginia Army National Guard has been in existence since 1922. The Band originated in Roanoke as a section of the 116th Infantry Brigade’s Service Company. But in October 1943, it was inducted into federal service as part of the “Blue and Gray” 29th Infantry Division, so called because it included National Guard units from Maryland (Union Blue) and Virginia (Confederate Gray). Band members joined in the assault on Omaha Beach, an action for which they received the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. In all, they saw action in four European campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, and Central Europe.
In 1946, the 29th Infantry Division Band was inactivated. Its Virginia segment became the 90th Army Band, the “Governor’s Own,” a title which it retained until October 1985. That year, it once again put on the Blue and Gray patch, this time as the band for the only Light Infantry Division in the entire U.S. Army National Guard.
Present-day missions take band members all over (and sometimes outside) the commonwealth of Virginia. They perform in concert, marching band and small ensembles for military and civilian functions alike with a repertoire that ranges from the classics to pop music to Broadway and motion picture hits. The band’s most recent foreign assignments were in Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Stabilization Force 10 in 2002 and the 60th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France in 2004. In 2007, the 29th Division Band replaced the 77th Army Band at Fort Sill, Oklahoma for their annual training. In 2011, the 29th Division Band replaced the storied 101st Airborne Band at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky for annual training and performed the National Anthem at the NASCAR Race in Richmond on Sept 11, 2011. In 2014, a brass group was sent to Normandy, France again for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day landings. That group performed on 22 missions in six days. On June 6 of that year the 29th Division Band performed two missions at the same time, one in Bedford and the other in Vierville, France. The band performs between 30 and 40 musical missions each year for over 300,000 people.