SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. - The United States Air Force Band of Mid-America helped a terminally ill Marine Corps veteran's last wish come true Feb. 25, 2013, with a special patriotic performance.
The Marine, Robert Geggie from Sparta, Ill., had served in Vietnam as a hydraulics engineer and always had a love of marching bands. He even played the baritone for his high school marching band. Now at age 66 and in the late stages of bone and lung cancer, his last wish brought him to Scott Air Force Base to hear his beloved "Marine Hymn" played one last time.
"I wish the Marine Corps marching band was playing outside my window," Geggie had said to his nurse at the Randolph County Care Center. The nurse and his sister contacted Hospice Dreams, a non-profit wish granting organization for hospice patients, to help make his wish reality.
Kamie Freeland, Hospice Dreams coordinator said, "Geggie was really depressed so his nurse brought the idea to me of having a marching band come play for him or for him to go see a marching band. With the help of the band at Scott, we made it happen."
He arrived to the USAF Band of Mid-America's facility where they greeted him in marching formation. Afterwards he, his family, and his father, 92, who is also named Robert Geggie and a World War II Marine Corps veteran, got a front row seat in the concert hall as they listened to an hours' worth of music. The band began their performance with the "Semper Fidelis March" and ended with the "Stars and Stripes Forever."
"This is very rare opportunity, I have not seen anything like this in my career," said Maj. Cristina Moore Urrutia, band commander and conductor. "The people on base often see us performing at the traditional ceremonies, but what they don't see is the impact we have on people, like today. Music has a way of communicating to all ages and cultures; it's a way we can give back to the community. When you see the tears on someone's face and what it means to them, that's when you realize the importance and impact we make."