July 4th has come and gone, but patriotism can still be felt in the air, not only across the tristate, but around the country. Steve Smartt sees himself as an average American, even though he is driving to many locations around the country teaching a little American history then playing our national anthem on his trumpet. He made a trip to fire house number eight today in Evansville, where several turned out to learn a lesson, and leave with a patriotic heart.
The flag pole at hose house number eight in Evansville is a symbol of freedom, and today, Steve Smartt stopped by the tristate on his unique journey to promote historical awareness. He says he has a goal to perform the star spangled banner at least 100 times this year. So far, he has played for 66 various groups. He has played for groups as large as 4,000 at sporting events and a small as one: A lady who was 100 years old in a nursing home. He even went to her room to play.
Steve spoke and played beside the flag pole that second graders from Evan's School purchased and dedicated to the fire department two months ago. Firefighters say they are appreciative of both gestures. Battalion Chief Dan Grimm says, "The music got our juices flowing, so to speak, by telling us the story about the flag and Fort McHenry. As he's playing, I'm looking at the flag, I can kind of reminisce and maybe think and see some of the visions Francis Scott Key saw being aboard the ship"
Nearby citizens thought of those who serve and have served for our freedom. Kristal Vorhees says her sister served in Iraq for a year and has a little trauma from being in Iraq.
Many would think traveling around the US to play 100 times is amazing, but to Steve, it's his duty. He says he's just a guy with a trumpet trying to help promote the story and the awareness of this bicentennial and that there is nothing special about my performance.
Steve says that many of his trips are spontaneous, but once he heard the story of the seconds graders raising money to buy the fire station a flag pole, he says he had to stop by and do what he felt necessary: Teach a small history lesson, then play his trumpet while asking all of us to sing the national anthem.
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