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Colorado first responders headed to France for D-Day pipe and drum performances

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ARVADA, Colo. — The Colorado Emerald Society Pipe Band will soon be performing at ceremonies honoring the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France.

Their instruments evoke the sound of reverence and respect, so it is hard to imagine a more appropriate gig for the band.

“The tone just kind of runs through you. You know, it’s solemn. Most people associate [bagpipes] with a funeral. That’s usually the only time that most people hear them,” said Mike West, the band’s pipe major.

Maybe you’ve never paid much attention to the Colorado Emerald Society. But at our community’s lowest times, they’re here, providing the soundtrack for our grief, as we saw with their performances at three law enforcement funerals last year.

Now, the band is preparing to honor even more heroes. In a couple of weeks, they’ll be in Normandy, performing at ceremonies honoring the men who fought and died on D-Day, 75 years after they fell.

The band is performing  June 6 at Brittany American Cemetery in Montjoie Saint Martin, France; June 7 at Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville sur Mer, France; and June 8 in Sainte Mere Eglise, France.

“It’s been really pretty special. A lot of the guys have researched their own family members that served and fought over there and so we’re going to spend a lot of time looking for the places where their grandfathers might have been and those places,” West said.

Each note squeezed from their bagpipes and each beat of their drum is the sound of reverence and respect.

“And my dad actually fought in the South Pacific, so you know, maybe one day I can knock that off the bucket list,” said James Dawe, an Arvada firefighter who volunteers with the band.

The Colorado Emerald Society is still raising money for their trip, and if you’d like to help cover the cost, you can do so through GoFundMe.

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