Local marching band pays tribute at Honolulu’s Pearl Harbor parade

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WINDSOR -  If Windsor High School band director Rob Darragh sounds a bit like a drill sergeant, blame his background.

“You know, I was in the Marine Corps, I was also in the Air Force, and I'm in the Army National Guard right now, so still serving,” he told FOX 31.

A few months ago, Darragh had an idea - to combine his love of country with his love of music – and take his kids on a field trip.  About 3300 hundred miles from home.

"Once in a lifetime experience for these kids, it`s a big deal because it`s the 75th anniversary (of the Pearl Harbor attack), and it was a huge event in our history, and so I decided ‘Yeah, let`s try to make this happen,’" Darragh said.

Months of fundraisers, planning and hard work culminate with a performance in the Pearl Harbor Memoria Parade on the streets on the Honolulu this Wednesday night, December 7, exactly 75 years after the deadly attack.  They’ll be marching alongside a group of soldiers and sailors who actually survived that day.  And that's not all.

“Part of the trip is actually us touring Pearl Harbor, we`re going to talk about the ships that were sunk that day, and we`re going to lay a wreath in the name of Windsor High School,” Darragh said.

For 11th grade trumpet player Sam Roth, the trip has special meaning because of his grandfather, Yuzo Hayashi.

“He was Japanese, he was in Hawaii when that took place, he said that he was up in a tree when that happened.  He was 12 years old and saw the planes flying over and saw all the action happening,” Roth said.

His grandfather died just a few months ago, but he would have been so excited about this trip.

"He'd be very proud of me, my brother, my family for making this accomplishment, and being able to perform in something he was a part of too," Roth said.

To really forge a connection between the kids and the heroes, each band member has been given a “Casualty Card.”  On it, the name of a soldier or sailor who was onboard a vessel at Pearl Harbor that day.  For weeks, Sam's been carrying around a card with Herbert Allen Dreesbach's name on it.  A 24 year old marine assigned to the USS Arizona, he went down with the ship.  His remains are still at the bottom of pearl harbor to this day.

“I think it's really humbling,” Roth said.

For this drill sergeant of a music teacher, and these talented Colorado performers headed to Hawaii this week, there is no greater honor.

Be sure to join us for a FOX 31 Problem Solvers Serving Those Who Serve special called "Let's Remember Pearl Harbor," airing Wednesday, Dec 7 at 9:30pm on FOX 31.