WR Mayor Shaheen: Save the Air Force Reserve Band | News
Warner Robins Mayor Chuck Shaheen doesn't want Monday's Independence Day Concert to be the last for the Band of the Air Force Reserve.
In March, Lt. Gen. Charles Stenner told Eyewitness News that he fought to keep the band, but the Pentagon ultimately decided to cut it. The band has been based Warner Robins since 1941.
Band spokesman Bill Granger told WMAZ's Lorra Lynch Jones they planned to make this year's Independence Day celebration one to remember.
But Shaheen says he is concerned that losing the band may mean more than just losing the annual July concert.
"The pride they give to our young kids is unmeasurable," he said. "They are part of the history and heritage of Warner Robins."
Last Thursday, he urged Warner Robins City Council to support the band by starting a letter-writing campaign to the U.S. Senators and Congressmen who represent the area.
"I understand there's cutbacks, but we need to scale down instead," he said.
Right now, Shaheen said he just wants to find a way to keep the band and is open to ways to do so.
"It's an active duty-reserve band. Maybe they can make it a reserve (only) band, and they can be called on when needed."
The fate of the band may affect the fate of the 30-year-old concert too. But Shaheen said it remains to be seen if one can exist without the other.
In any case, he said, "The city of Warner Robins is still committed to the concert."
For now, Shaheen said he plans to support the band and the concert any way he can. In the meantime, he'll hope for the best.
"Hopefully we can reach a compromise."
The Independence Day Concert begins at 8 p.m. Monday night in McConnell-Talbert Stadium in Warner Robins. The gates open at 6 p.m. and the event is free and open to the public.