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Morgan State University's marching band the first HBCU to perform at D-Day Anniversary Parade in Normandy

Morgan State University's marching band to perform at D-Day Anniversary Parade in Normandy
Morgan State University's marching band to perform at D-Day Anniversary Parade in Normandy 01:49

BALTIMORE --- Morgan State University's Magnificent Marching Machine will appear on the world stage Friday, performing in Normandy, France on the 80th Anniversary and Commemoration of D-Day.

This makes them the first HBCU to participate in the internationally recognized event.

The world will be watching more than 100 students from Morgan State's marching band remember and honor military servicemembers – while making history at the same time. 

WJZ had the chance to catch up with the band before they traveled to France to learn how important this moment truly is. 

"It is bigger than the band," said Jorim E. Reid Sr. D.M.A, the director of Morgan State's Magnificent Marching Machine. "Our students have been prepared and educated on what this means."

For Reid, this moment is what marching bands are all about. 

"Not just HBCU bands but all marching bands come from the military and that's often forgotten," Reid explained. "And the traditions of the syncopated movements, the regimented activities, the discipline, the flair, the dignity has already been attributed to marching bands." 

This trip is also personal. Reid told WJZ his grandfather entered World War II not far from the same beach they'll be marching.

"I would not be here if he hadn't survived," said Reid. "10,000 soldiers on that beach where we will be marching on. There's blood in that sand."

On June 6, 1944 thousands of troops are believed to have stormed the beach shores of Normandy to fight and liberate France from Nazi control—a moment the world knows as D-Day

Reid believes this opportunity to perform in France is not only a chance to show the world what Morgan State can do, but instead a way to remind the students of what this moment truly represents and how it transformed the world.

"We will be marching-- as I told the band. On your right, you're going to see a beautiful beach– this beautiful beach, beautiful scenery," Reid explained. "On your left, you're left you're going to see bullet holes."

During their performance, they'll pay homage to the thousands of Americans known as "The Greatest Generation" who gave the ultimate sacrifice and served during World War II. 

"It's important, you know, for them to see the world if we're trying to make –you know— change the world," said Reid.

Their performances will include renditions of "Taps" and "America the Beautiful" as they march through two towns.

"It's a big thing for me going out of the country and being able to perform," said 

The opportunity isn't lost on Morgan State students.

"To just be a part of the first HBCUs to do this Normandy D-Day Parade— is a very blessed opportunity," said Dante Travis, a sophomore student and member of the band.

"I really just thank God forreal," said Nia Brown, another member.

According to the university, the D-Day 80 Normandy Parade was changed to Friday, June 7, at 2:00 p.m.(Paris Time—6 hours ahead of Eastern Time). Morgan State University's Magnificent Marching Machine will perform at the parade at Omaha Beach.

"Definitely a great opportunity. Our students are grateful. It's a blessing for our students. Our current students experience something like this," said Reid. 

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