Getting in the spirit
September 12, 2011
Webster's dictionary defines perseverance as the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure or opposition; but this year's theme of Spirit of America defines it as the unwavering commitment of the American Soldier.
Spirit of America, a show filled with historical recollections, musical entertainment and military drill, celebrates the contributions of the U.S. Army from 1775 to the present day; starring cast members from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, (The Old Guard). Each year SOA focuses on a different central theme describing U.S. Soldiers.
"It's Soldiers' perseverance that's the corps of our Army," said Harry Bagdasian, SOA staging director. "When Soldiers take an oath and join the United States Army, they mean it. They're dedicated, focused, committed and courageous."
Since the month of July, Old Guard Soldiers have been rehearsing around the clock bringing to life historical accounts taken directly from Soldiers' letters and diaries while also reenacting wars that have greatly shaped our nation.
"There are a lot of late hours memorizing the script," said Spc. Logan Sheriff, an Alpha Company Soldier who narrates pieces of SOA. "We not only have to learn our parts but understudy others as well."
Sgt. Michael Poindexter, a member of the U.S. Army Drill Team, known for its precision in military drill, said the drill team has also worked vigorously on their piece in SOA.
"We've put in a lot of practice time. The drill team are perfectionist," said Poindexter.
However, Poindexter hopes the audience doesn't just take away an appreciation for the hard work put into preparing SOA, but a greater appreciation for the sacrifices of Soldiers in the U.S. Army.
"Spirit of America is a way to showcase what the Army is about. I hope the audience gets a sense of what Soldiers have been through over the years and what it is we do to protect them," said Poindexter.
Poindexter isn't alone in his anticipations of reaching the American public, Sheriff hopes for the same outcome.
"Not a lot of people know what it's like to be a Soldier in the Army. They see what's on television and movies but that doesn't give the real feeling of being a Soldier. I want people to walk away and be proud to know there are Soldiers laying their lives on the line for them. I really hope that sinks in," said Sheriff.
Audiences will get the chance to experience SOA beginning Sept. 9 with performances in D.C., North Charleston, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla. For more information on Spirit of America, check out the official website at http://www.soa.mdw.army.mil.