Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
Kentucky National Guard's 202nd Army Band Celebrates Armed Forces Day with Concert

Press Release Date:  Friday, April 18, 2008  
Contact Information:  1LT Andi Hahn
Asst. Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Kentucky National Guard

Frankfort, Ky. -- Join the Kentucky Army National Guard's 202nd Army Band on Saturday, May 17 in celebrating Armed Forces Day with a special commemorative concert at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort. The free, hour-long concert begins at 2 p.m. ET and features a wide of array of patriotic and contemporary music to include "Unbridled Spirit" and " Kentucky's Guardians," the official march of the Kentucky National Guard.

Admission to the Kentucky Historical Society’s museums will be free that day in honor of Armed Forces Day and International Museum Day.

Armed Forces Day is observed on the third Saturday each May to honor the members of America’s military, both past and present. President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. Traditionally, each branch of the United States military had its own day of celebration. That all changed on August 31, 1949 when Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of "Armed Forces Day." President Harry Truman promoted the holiday in a presidential proclamation on February 20, 1950. All branches of the military united and celebrated the first "Armed Forces Day" on May 20, 1950.

During this year's Armed Forces Day concert the 202nd Army Band will perform "Invictus," a dramatic composition inspired by British poet William Ernest Henley’s famous short poem. The title, Latin for "unconquered," reflects the spirit of America’s Citizen-Soldiers. A recording of the 202nd Army Band’s rendition of "Invictus" was utilized in "BATAAN: The Harrodsburg Tankers -- A Time for Courage … A Time for Heroes." This 70-minute documentary follows the exploits of Soldiers who served in the Kentucky Army National Guard's 192nd Tank Battalion in the Philippines during World War II.

"The band is excited to honor our military with this Armed Forces Day concert," said Chief Warrant Officer Greg Stepp, who commands the 42-member band. "That's our job, providing exemplary music for the United States military, the Kentucky National Guard, and for the people of Kentucky. In many ways we serve in a public relations capacity to foster a positive image of the Guard and to support recruitment and retention."

The 202nd Army Band has been called upon many times to perform outside the state for special training assignments. Unit musicians have given concerts in Hawaii, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, West Virginia and Virginia. In November 1994, as guests of the Chilean government, the band spent two-weeks in Santiago, the capital city of Chile, playing concerts for the public and performing for the United States Ambassador to Chile. Upcoming trips include a two-week tour of duty at Fort Monroe, Virginia in the Washington, D.C. area in July 2008.

The 202nd Army Band is constantly seeking talented young musicians who want to serve their state and their nation.

"A high school or college musician could not find a better group of people to share their talents with," commented 1st Sgt. Sharon Cates. "It’s really a wonderful opportunity for a young woman or man to have their education paid for, while doing something for their country." Cates stated.

Members of the 202nd Army Band come from all walks of life and include teachers, computer specialists, college professors, professional musicians, and full-time college students. Performers have released solo albums and play with such well known groups as the Louisville-based "Crossgate Woodwind Ensemble."

"I hope every time that we finish a concert that we’ve touched someone’s life, made them remember a special moment, and encouraged pride and patriotism," commented Stepp. "That’s what this is all about and we love doing it."

The 202nd is a part of the Kentucky Army National Guard's 751st Troop Command, based in Ft. Knox, Kentucky. For more information about the Armed Forces Day concert of the 202nd Kentucky Army National Guard band, contact Staff Sgt. Alan Robinson, 502-607-5331 or email him at

- 30 -