Band Made W.Va. Pride Show in NYC

There is a reason West Virginia University’s marching band is called “The Pride of West Virginia.” Time and again they move us with their talent, hard work and poise. They remain among the few college marching bands for which fans stay in the stands at halftime, or rush to their seats well before kickoff, to catch the performance.

Last week, they showed the rest of the world why we love them so much.

As the only collegiate marching band selected to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, WVU’s band started the show. It was, as it always is, a rousing performance.

And it was exactly what we needed.

The previous couple of weeks on the national stage had not been kind to the Mountain State. Across the country, when West Virginia came up in conversation, it was likely to be in regard to a couple of public officials who posted racist comments, a football team and fan base that did not live up to expectations on a big game night against Oklahoma, or — most tragically — a 15-year-old black boy shot and killed by a 62-year-old white man in Charleston, who reportedly told police “The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the street.”

Many West Virginians spent several days wishing they could shout to the world, “That is not who we are!”

WVU’s marching band did it for them.

Carrying a banner that read “Macy’s presents: West Virginia,” the band made a simple statement to the millions of Americans watching: This is who we are. We are proud, yes; we are talented, creative, strive for excellence and, given half a chance, we can lead the way.

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