On June 16, the Marine Corps Reserve Band will close out its ten-month nationwide centennial celebration at FDR Four Freedoms Park. Marines, and supporters nationwide, witnessed the kick-off last summer at Times Square. The location for their final performance couldn’t be more fitting.
FDR’s Four Freedoms are meaningful to the Marines, according to the Project Leader for the Marine Corps Reserve Centennial Commemoration, Corrine Parker, a retired Navy Commander. “These Four Freedoms align with the values and the rights from our Constitution that our Marine Corps fights to uphold. The Marine Corps has a long history of fighting and sacrificing so every American has the hope of living with the Four Freedoms that FDR spoke of in his famous 1941 speech.”
The Marine Corps Reserve Band.
Islander Edward Jany, Chief of the Veteran’s Community at Bloomberg L.P., where he directs security operations for Bloomberg in the Americas and also serves as Bloomberg’s Director for Global Health and Safety, was instrumental in bringing the band here. He says, “FDR was advocating for us not being isolationist anymore, and this really resonates for military people.” He said that creating the military reserves program was initially a stop-gap measure so we wouldn’t lose people to the private sector, but that FDR wanted to be able to maintain that service to bring people back in when needed. “FDR was a catalyst to ensure we funded it and kept it going.”
The location of the performance is important to the military, but Jany believes it is also important for the Island, and could potentially help us attract more retail. He thinks free events like this one might inspire other groups to hold events here, and could, ultimately, help market the community and brand it. He says he is “floored at how many of our own New Yorkers don’t know about [the Island].”
This performance, Parker says, “is the capstone of our Centennial Commemoration Campaign. We started the 100-year anniversary with a Once a Marine, Always a Marine formation in Times Square on August 29, so it is fitting that we end it here at Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island.”
Parker also says that the Marine Corps Band from New Orleans is a lot of fun to watch. “[They] have a special personality they pour into each show to make sure the audience has a great experience. Not only are they amazing musicians, they are unbelievable performers. As one of ten fleet bands located at Marine Corps installations throughout the United States and Japan, they routinely perform in military ceremonies and formal events.”
Jany agrees. He says the Marines put on a spectacular show. “The Air Force and Army bands are really nice, but the thing about the Marine band, especially the New Orleans band, is that they do variety,” He calls it a “buffet of music,” and said that, when he was a colonel in New Orleans, they used to rehearse outside his window.
“I can’t say enough good things about [the Marines] for the help they gave to my friends and family and all of the people of the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy,” says RIOC Board member, Margie Smith. “They came down there and pitched in to help everyone get back on their feet. I know that’s a small thing compared to what they do for our country as a whole, but it made a huge impression on me. And, from a purely superficial point, I’ve heard them play and they’re amazing. Add that to the venue they’ll be playing in - that’s why I’m so excited!”
There were many highlights to the tour this past year, according to Parker. “It was an honor to pay tribute to the Reserve Marines who fought in Belleau Wood, France, in World War I, to meet some Marines from Iwo Jima in World War II, and to get to know the thousands of Marines who have fought so bravely from Vietnam to our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The men and women who comprise the ranks of the Marine Corps Reserve are truly remarkable people and they deserve our accolades and our unequivocal support.”
The show will take place on June 16, at 7:00 p.m. at FDR Four Freedoms Park. Admission is free.