Retired New York music professor Don Miller will have his musical tribute to our US military featured in Monday’s 100th anniversary commemoration of the Armistice that ended World War I. The High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America and the Watauga Community Band will feature Miller’s piece as part of the 11am program in center court of Boone Mall.
Miller based his memorable salute, “Here Rests In Honored Glory,” from the inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
The presentation of the piece will follow remarks from Col. Benjamin W. Covington III, (Ret) of the US Army.
The Watauga Community Band brass section will accompany vocalists from the band’s ranks, singers who have formed a choral group for the performance of Miller’s piece. They will also accompany the band in a vocal rendition of “Mansions of the Lord” near the closing of the event.
Miller’s music has gained international acclaim, including being featured at the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy in France each June 6th in commemoration of D-Day, the battle that signaled beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.
The Millers have strong ties to the High Country, spending part of the year in the area. Don sings with the Boone United Methodist Church Choir, and both Don and his wife Mary are members of the High Country Writers.
In the piece, Miller combined the echoing of two trumpets playing TAPS with two hymn tunes, “St. Theodulph” (All Glory Laud and Honor) and “Ellacombe” (O Day of Rest and Gladness). Combining these as a tribute, Miller said, was to be “sensitive to many religions and even to persons of no religious belief.”
After more than three decades since Miller composed the work, it is still gaining in prominence in the military music community. Recently the Miller’s were contacted by the United States Army Band in Washington DC, informing them the band is considering performing “Here Rests In Honored Glory” in upcoming performances. Miller said, “All of this is very humbling. I’m so grateful and want to thank those who gave the ultimate for their country.” Miller has been asked to participate in the rehearsals and possibly the performance of the piece.
“Here Rests In Honored Glory” was adopted as the “Official Hymn of Mourning” by both the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America. All of Miller’s royalties as composer were split evenly between the two organizations. He said he has not and will not profit from the work.
The piece was recorded in North Carolina in 2006 by the North Carolina Master Chorale in Raleigh and produced as a CD, Posted here. All proceeds from those sales went to raise money for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a national non-profit organization made up of, and providing services to all those who have lost a loved one on active duty with the Armed Forces.
In 2009, Miller’s composition won the George Washington Medal of Honor from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
Back in his home state, the New York State Assembly and Senate this year approved designating Miller’s song as the Official State Hymn of Remembrance in Honor of All American Veterans.
Most rewarding for Miller and his wife Mary are the stories they have heard from those impacted by the musical work. Mary Miller said, “Through TAPS we got to know a lot of families. One of our friends lost their son 14 years ago. They listen to the song regularly and it brings them relief.” Don Miller added, “We know a family that plays the song at the grave of their loved one in Arlington,” saying “It comforts them. It’s how they celebrate.”