Soldiers honor Memorial Day with video, chance to give back
May 27, 2016
Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have died serving America. Some decorate military cemeteries. Others visit the graves of the fallen and stand in silent salute. For others, it's time for the beach or barbecue.
Two Army officers who are deployed to Afghanistan are paying tribute with an original song, “I’m Gonna Miss You.”
1st Lt. Justin Wright and 1st Lt. Andrew Yacovone, who co-founded the band, Interstate 10, are doing more than paying homage in song. If their music video receives more than 100,000 views on YouTube between Friday and midnight Monday, they will donate $500 to the Children of the Fallen Patriots Foundation.
The Children of the Fallen Patriots Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships, supplemental grants and educational counselling to children whose parents were killed in the line of duty.
“We wanted this song to make an impact for the right reason,” Wright, who was born and raised in Tallahassee, said in an email interview. “We thought this was a great way to honor those who have given everything.”
Wright and Yacovone met on their first day of training at Fort Benning, Georgia. After the first physical training session, Wright asked if anyone played golf. People chuckled and started to walk away. Yacovone asked if anyone played guitar. The two swapped original songs that night. Then, they started writing and playing together. The duo has formed Interstate 10, a nod to the stretch that connects their home states.
The first draft of the song was written by Yacovone, who is from Hollister, California, before he left for the Army. They came back to the song after their first deployment. While deployed in 2014, three soldiers from their battalion died.
“From then on the song took new meaning for us and we knew we had a debt. to pay and a mission for this song,” Wright said.
The two recorded the song before their second deployment. They recorded the music video in Afghanistan, although they were separated by more than 300 miles of hostile terrain. Wright is in Bagram Airforce Base near Kabul and Yacovone is in Kandahar.
“Our freedom came at a price. A price we are still paying today,” Wright said. “We all are in debt to those families’ whose soldiers were taken in wars so that we can have a BBQ on the weekend, go to the beach, vacation, travel without being in danger.”