Words and Music Express Gratitude

<em>Edit Blog entry</em> Words and Music Express Gratitude

In honor of National Poetry Month OCC Archives is highlighting a piece of music written by Professor Emeritus Donald B. Miller. The connection between music and poetry is a natural one considering that both use rhythm, rhyme, and flow to tell a story or to express a message. In Professor Miller’s case that story is one of gratitude, and the words he so beautifully set to music convey the depth of our collective national appreciation for those members of the U.S. armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice and remain posthumously unidentified.

The piece, titled Here Rests in Honored Glory, is based on the inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington, D.C. It is scored for a chorus, several brass instruments, timpani, and organ. Here in the OCC Archives we have a collection of materials related to Professor Miller’s beautiful composition and the subsequent honors that both it and he have received.

First performed at Syracuse’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in 1984, Here Rests in Honored Glory was chosen as the official hymn of mourning by the Veterans of the Vietnam War and the Paralyzed Veterans of America Associations in 1990 and 1991, respectively. OCC Archives has many letters and other documentation related to those honors. Also in our collection is an original handwritten copy of the musical score, a magnetic tape of one of the first performances of the piece, and numerous newspaper clippings related to its history.

Dr. Miller’s tenure as professor of music and Chair of the Music Department here at Onondaga Community College was a long one and we are proud to count him as one of our own. The poetry of his musical piece is a beautiful testament to the pride and gratitude of a nation for its fallen warriors and OCC Archives is humbled to have in our collection the records of such an esteemed piece.