Master Sgt. Kevin Bennear, a UT graduate, will participate in former President George H. W. Bush’s State Funeral as a vocalist with “The President’s Own” United States Marine Chamber Orchestra. The funeral is to be held today at the Washington National Cathedral.
He received a master’s of arts in music from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2000.
President Bush’s State Funeral marks the 14th such event for which “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band or Marine Chamber Orchestra has performed. For Master Sgt. Bennear, this is his second State Funeral. In 2007, he also performed for the ceremony to remember and honor 38th President Gerald Ford.
“The President’s Own” was present for the State Funerals of the following former Presidents: Gerald Ford in 2007, Ronald Reagan in 2004, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1969, Herbert Hoover in 1964, John F. Kennedy in 1963, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945, William Howard Taft in 1930, William McKinley in 1901, Ulysses S. Grant in 1885, James Garfield in 1881, Abraham Lincoln in 1865, Zachary Taylor in 1850, and John Quincy Adams in 1848.
“We have been fortunate to have had wonderful moments with every President we serve, but President and Mrs. Bush’s gratitude for our Marines and for the special music we provide in The People’s House was especially warm and always engaging,” said Marine Band Director Col. Jason K. Fettig. “He never missed an opportunity to connect with those around him and thank them for their contributions, and the men and women in the band who got to know President Bush both during his administration and in the many years beyond will always remember his ever-present appreciation and admiration for all those who served our nation alongside him.”
Jon Meacham, recipient of an honorary degree from UT in fall 2017 and Bush’s official biographer, will deliver the eulogy. Meacham is a presidential historian, a Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, editor, and scholar. Born in Chattanooga, he began his career at the Chattanooga Times and went on to be an editor at Random House, Newsweek, and the Washington Monthly.