SANFORD, Fla. – Seminole High School students, teachers and chaperones are boarding flights bound for France on Tuesday as the school's band is set to perform at the 75th commemoration of D-Day.
School leaders have been planning the trip since 2017, when "The Pride of the Tribe" was selected as one of five bands to represent the United States at the historic ceremony.
"It's just really exciting because we get to bring a part of who we are here over there as a representation of what we do," band member Kenny Oyala said.
"This is going to be the highlight of our summer and even the highlight of our high school life."
Thursday marks 75 years since more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along heavily fortified coastline in Normandy to fight against Nazi Germany. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded during the operation, which began the liberation of German-occupied France.
After Seminole High School's band arrives Wednesday, students are scheduled to perform at three separate events that are part of a memorial and tribute to veterans.
"This is something that's going to be truly moving and powerful for our students," Band Director P.L. Malcom said.
"They're going to know this was significant. They won't come back the same kids."
The group of nearly 140 is scheduled to visit several historic landmarks in and around Paris before returning home on Wednesday, June 12.