CINCINNATI – It’s probably a safe bet that no other Veterans Day observance had a 96-year-old World War II pilot for an emcee.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy presented a special Veterans Day concert featuring performances by the Seven Hills Brass Ensemble as well as CHCA’s jazz orchestra and choirs.
“I’m glad that it’s being done with music with a little melody,” said the emcee, Charles Carraher.
Carraher, a decorated WWII pilot, still fits sharply into his uniform. He said he was part of the liberation of two major concentration camps and served many other roles during the war.
“We dropped paratroopers, towed gliders, evacuated the wounded,” he said.
His mission now is simpler: ensuring that people don’t forget the soldiers, sailors and Marines who died for their country.
“I want to keep alive the memories of World War II. There were 420,000 men and women who died. I think I owe it to them to make sure we don’t forget about it,” he said.
Carraher also wants to people to acknowledge the living heroes from U.S. wars with a simple “thank you.”
“When you thank a veteran, you thank all of them. That’s the way I feel,” he said. “When you shake hands and say, ‘Thanks for your service,’ you’re automatically thanking all the veterans who have ever served our country.”
When the show was almost over, the conductor respectfully asked Carraher to oblige the orchestra and the audience.
“It would be an honor for you to direct the last piece,” the conductor said.
With that, Carraher added one more job to his list - Conductor – and ended with a bow.
“God bless America,” he said. “The greatest country of them all.”