By MDW Public AffairsSeptember 30, 2010
The U.S. Army Military District Washington's (MDW) 2010 Spirit of America (SOA) campaign closed its 12 show road trip to a near capacity crowd in the Van Andel Arena at Grand Rapids, Michigan Sept. 25. Consistent with the 2010 Army theme, U.S. Army - "Strength of the Nation," the SOA theme focused on the perseverance and resiliency of the Army across 235 years of service to Nation.
The show featured the Soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own," and was intended to educate, inform, inspire, and entertain the American public about America's Army and its 235 year history as the "Strength of the Nation."
The Friday morning shows at each location allowed school-aged children to attend with their classes and the Saturday matinees featured new Soldiers taking the oath of enlistment into the Army. All of the four performances at each location showcased the Army and thanked the American people for their support.
Also at each location, MDW hosted a large number of Veteran's Groups, as well as numerous Gold Star families. Approximately 76,000 Americans attended and 296 Soldiers enlisted during the various 12 performances. In addition to the live shows, for the first time, SOA streamed live on the Internet with select performances from each venue.
The SOA opened in Pittsburg with shows on Sept. 10 and 11, to capacity crowds in the newly opened Consol Energy Center. The four show total attendance was approximately 32,000 and featured 128 Soldiers enlisting with the support of the Harrisburg Recruiting Battalion. At the Saturday matinee the mother of Medal of Honor Recipient, Spec. Ross McGinnis, was honored. On Sunday, Sept 12, the Continental Color Guard, the Army Drill Team, and the Fife and Drum Corps were invited to perform at the Pittsburgh Steelers' home-opening football game to a crowd of 64,000.
SOA transitioned to Highland Heights, Ky., and the greater Cincinnati area for shows on Sept. 17 and 18, at the Bank of Kentucky Arena. The four show attendance was approximately 17,000 and 121 Soldiers were enlisted with the support of the Columbus Recruiting Battalion. At the Saturday evening performance, MDW hosted the Gold Star families of Sgt. Matt Maupin, Spec. William Zapfe and Spec. Russell Madden, all Soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
SOA's final show was in Grand Rapids, Mich., with approximately 27,000 attendees. 47 Soldiers were enlisted with the support of the Great Lakes Recruiting Battalion.
The Soldiers of MDW are now rehearsing for their performance at the Association of the United States Army opening ceremony on 25 October at the Washington Convention Center.