The UNC Charlotte “Pride of Niner Nation” Marching Band was selected as the official band to represent the United States in Normandy, France for the 74th anniversary of D-Day.
June 6, 1944 was a day that changed the course of history. Massive waves of Allied troops and weaponry came ashore in France, to take on the fierce German occupiers and begin the retaking of Europe. Peace followed in the coming year and, on the home front, the US set its sights on post-war opportunities, sparking unprecedented demand for higher education, fueled by the GI Bill of Rights.
Seventy-four years later, the University of North Carolina Charlotte’s “Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band” travels to France to perform in the international commemoration of D-Day. Even more than a life-changing trip abroad, the journey brought students the opportunity to touch the history that led to their university.
On June 6, at 3 p.m. Eastern time, UNC Charlotte presented a live-stream special, “Origins of Opportunity.” The video below shows the band’s performances and the exciting reactions and perspectives of the students as they experienced the sights and sounds of the historic Normandy coast. The program also features the expertise of one of the University’s historian-experts on World War II, and the thoughts of Holocaust survivor and Professor Emerita Susan Czernyak-Spatz.
Photo and text adapted from “Origins of Opportunity” website.