HORTONVILLE, Wis. (WFRV) – Local Walgreens are lending a hand to help Hortonville High School honor U.S. veterans in a lasting tradition that was upended because of the pandemic.
How are they helping?
According to the Hortonville marching band, nearly 230 members are scheduled to receive COVID-19 testing before leaving on their Hawaii trip to revive the tradition of performing at Pearl Harbor.
Beginning June 6, the anniversary of D-Day, four Walgreens locations near Hortonville will test band members and their supporters for two days so they can meet Hawaii’s pre-travel requirement of receiving a negative test result within 72 hours of departure.
“As a neighborhood health destination, Walgreens is providing schools, businesses, and communities the flexible support needed to not only get back to normal but to also resume travel and continue important traditions put on hold because of the pandemic,” says Justin Coyle, Senior Director of Walgreens Development Operations.
Organizers say the trip will mark the Hortonville Marching Polar Bears’ sixth time performing at Pearl Harbor since 2001, when the band began making periodic trips to the historic site, to recognize those who have served and sacrificed their lives.
Band members say this year’s journey will replace the one scheduled for last year when it was canceled because of the pandemic.
The group is inviting band members from the class of 2020 to return for this year’s week-long trip, which begins when they depart on Wednesday, June 9.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to return to Pearl Harbor, to offer a personal thank you to our
veterans. We take great pride in honoring our service members and all they have done for our country,” says Greg Forton, Hortonville High Schools marching band director.
The band’s visit to Pearl Harbor is just one of the ways they plan to honor veterans while in Hawaii. Band members say they will also present a wreath, which will be carried onto the USS Arizona Memorial, the resting place for more than 1,000 service members who died in the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack.
While on the Memorial, the band says they plan to cut the strings from their fresh flower leis to spread over the waters that entomb the USS Arizona. The band will also participate in many educational activities, to learn the culture and customs of the Hawaiian people.