They are called “The Marching Southerners.” This time, their march will be a long way from the Southern United States — closer to the South of France.

The Jacksonville State University (JSU) Marching Southerners, known for their performances at historical events overseas, are embarking on another historic journey to perform for the 80th commemoration of D-Day in Normandy, France, on Thursday, June 6.

The anniversary marks the landings from the English Channel along the Normandy coast of France in World War II. This event was the first day of the liberation of Europe from the Nazi occupation. D-Day ultimately led to the defeat of Nazism and the safeguarding of Christian civilization and will be commemorated at Normandy American Cemetery Thursday.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allows the Marching Southerners to pay homage to the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom, including many from Alabama.

The band held a rehearsal practice on Monday at the JSU campus before leaving for the trip.

The Marching Southerners are a 556-member band. The university took an unusual extra step and allowed other students, staff, alumni, and supporters to purchase registrations and go on the historic trip. The Alabama delegation to ‘D-Day at 80 Years’ will be the largest single group there.

The band's other notable performances include Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee (her 75th anniversary as queen) in London in 2012, the 75th anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 2016 and the World Peace Day Parade at the Vatican in 2019.

The band is the single largest student organization at Jacksonville State University.

“Send the Alabamians.”

Jim ‘Zig’ Zeigler’s beat is the colorful and positive about Alabama. He writes about Alabama people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths. He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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