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Marine veteran gets personal AF concert

Mar. 6, 2013 - 07:55AM   |   Last Updated: Mar. 6, 2013 - 07:55AM  |  
In this Feb. 25 photo, Robert Geggie and his family applaud members of the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America during a private performance at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Hospice Dreams and the Band of Mid-America granted Geggie's dream to hear the "Marines' Hymn" performed one more time. Geggie, 66, a Marine Corps veteran, is suffering from cancer and in hospice care in Sparta, Ill.
In this Feb. 25 photo, Robert Geggie and his family applaud members of the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America during a private performance at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Hospice Dreams and the Band of Mid-America granted Geggie's dream to hear the "Marines' Hymn" performed one more time. Geggie, 66, a Marine Corps veteran, is suffering from cancer and in hospice care in Sparta, Ill. (Derik Holtmann / Belleville News-Democrat via AP)
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SPARTA, Ill. — In his hospice room at the Randolph County Care Center in Sparta, Robert T. Geggie dreamed about music, marching music mainly.

"He was talking about having the Marine Corps Band play underneath his window," said Karie Freeland of Hospice Dreams, a group that grants wishes for adult hospice patients.

She said they couldn't do that, but they did arrange for a concert by a top-notch military band, the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America at Scott Air Force Base.

"We came up with this," Freeland said Feb. 25 after the band performed on base for Geggie and some of his family members.

Geggie, 66, a Marine Corps veteran, is suffering from cancer.

The marching band began by swinging down the street playing the Air Force hymn, "The U.S. Air Force," then went inside their rehearsal hall, adding a few more members to play a selection of marches and other music under the direction of Maj. Cristina Moore Urrutia.

Geggie joined the Marines after graduating from high school in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and served four years, including 13 months in Vietnam. His love of the Corps has stayed steady, and he particularly wanted to hear the "Marines' Hymn."

The veteran listened from his wheelchair wearing his Marines jacket and hat. Moore Urrutia asked him why he decided on his wish to hear her band.

"This is my first time on base," he said. "I figured, what the heck. You got a band here."

He often nodded his head in time to the music and told Moore Urrutia about playing the baritone horn when he was living in Ferguson, Mo., and attending McCluer High School before the family moved.

The band presented him with a ceremonial marching band hat and some of its CDs.

"Well done Marine," Moore Urrutia said. "Thank you for your service. We are truly grateful."

The band finished with "The Stars and Stripes Forever," with the band members applauding Geggie and his family standing to applaud the band.

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