CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - Thursday marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy during World War II in 1944. This year, local musician Kenny Bierschenk is preparing to play taps at a ceremony in Normandy commemorating the invasion.
He’ll play a trumpet that belonged to U.S. Army Sgt. Richard Wank. The sergeant’s grandson discovered the instrument after his passing in 2007.
“I had the trumpet from 2007 to now and I didn’t do anything with it," said Jeff Wank. “I could just hear my grandfather saying, ‘Why don’t you just throw that thing away, throw that thing away, throw that thing away, why are you holding on to that?’”
The trumpet has been restored and is breathing new life.
“To be able to play taps on a trumpet that was actually used to do that very same thing 75 years ago when it was still a battle zone -- that’s really meaningful to me,” said Longhorn Alumni Band member Kenny Bierschenk.
The only one on his boat to survive, Jeff Wank says his grandfather wouldn’t let his instrument go. The sergeant was found by medics two days later with his trumpet still in hand.
“I think he played taps for his friends," Jeff Wank said. "I really do. I think that’s what he was doing.”
Jeff Wank and his cousin are set to be in Normandy to watch Bierschenk play their grandfather’s trumpet.
“I know that’s it’s going to be a very emotional experience not just for me, but for everyone that is there," Bierschenk said.
Bierschenk says he will also perform at Omaha Beach on June 7, with other members of the Longhorn Alumni Band.