U.S. Marine Corps musicians are among artists who President Donald J. Trump honored Nov. 21 during a ceremony in the East Room.
The president awarded the National Medal of Arts to the approximately 6,500 musicians of the United States military (1,112 musicians serve in the Marine Corps) in addition to other recipients. On behalf of his fellow military musicians, Army Staff Sgt. Jan Knutson, a guitarist with The U.S. Army Band “Perishing’s Own” accepted the award, which is given to individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States.
“[Military musicians] touch the hearts of service members of the frontlines, wounded veterans in hospitals, Gold Star families at military funerals and Americans everywhere,” said President Trump.
The Marine Corps’ musical assets include 10 field bands, “The Commandant’s Own” Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band.
Col. Jason Fettig, director of “The President’s Own,” called the recognition “an unexpected and incredibly humbling honor.” As part of its White House mission, his unit has provided music for countless National Arts and Humanities Medal ceremonies through the years.
“It is an incredible privilege to now be counted among them with this very special honor from our president,” said Fettig, who joined the Marine Corps in 1997 as a clarinetist.
In addition to America’s military musicians, President Trump honored Allison Krauss, bluegrass, folk, gospel and country singer; Sharon Percy Rockefeller, arts leader, policymaker, and president and CEO of the public television and radio station WETA in Arlington, Virginia; and actor Jon Voight with the National Medal of Arts.