YOUNGSTOWN Patriotism stars in area concert

Many at the tribute event wore red, white and blue.
YOUNGSTOWN -- It was planned as a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks, but a Sunday evening concert at Youngstown State University took on new significance with reports of U.S.-led military strikes in Afghanistan.
More than 900 Mahoning Valley residents attended the performance, "From the Valley to the Victims -- a Tribute to the Spirit of America." The event at YSU's Beeghly Center featured music by The Youngstown Connection, the Warren Junior Military Band and 180 volunteers from YSU's Marching Pride, its Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band.
The crowd gave standing ovations. Many concertgoers dressed in red, white and blue, and they clapped and waved their flag-backed programs unabashedly.
Concerns: But developments abroad were on their minds.
Some, like Marge Sobnosky of Youngstown, worried about how the escalating conflict might affect friends and family members.
"I'm rather upset about what's happening," she said as she arrived at Beeghly Center with her husband, Bob. "I have confidence in the president, but it worries me because we have a lot of relatives that are that age, in their 20s, that might have to go to war."
Bob Monrean of Liberty Township, his 3-year-old daughter Anastasia in tow, dressed for the event in a patriotic T-shirt and a ball cap decorated in stars and stripes. He said he supports the decision to strike, even though he abhors violence.
"For our young ones' sake, I think we have to do something," he said, holding tightly to his daughter's hand.
Veterans: The heightened patriotism was an encouragement to Scott Linebaugh of Boardman, a U.S. Army veteran of the Desert Storm conflict. "I love seeing the flags again. I love seeing everybody pulling together, realizing what it's all about," he said.
Linebaugh said the events of the day inspired his own pride in the military, along with an understanding of how those called to fight must be feeling now.
"The military are no different than you or I. They're not brainwashed. They have families. No one wants to die," he said.
"But at the same time, they realize that they took an oath to protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. They're willing to do that. Do they want to die? No. Are they willing to? Yes. They're brave."
Another military veteran, Orlando Iacobucci of Austintown, said he had been expecting the U.S. to initiate some military action against the Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan. He'd predicted the hits would come this week or next.
Iacobucci, who served in the U.S. Army in the mid-1950s, said he's confident America's technological advancements will give its military the ability to win the conflict while minimizing casualties.
Speeches: Addressing the crowd during the one-hour performance, George McCloud, dean of YSU's College of Fine and Performing Arts, made one of the few references to the escalating conflict. Remarking that the terrorist attacks have left a deep scar on the nation, he added, "and now, on Oct. 7, the next stage of this historic time is upon us."
Instead of giving his own advice, he quoted from Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, given March 4, 1865, during the Civil War: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in."
YSU President Dr. David Sweet, also a speaker, said two YSU alumni were killed in the terrorist attacks, and several students and staff have been called up to serve in the military in recent weeks.
"We've gone from horror and sorrow to anger and resolve," Sweet said.
Musicians' experience: Michele Lepore-Hagan, director of YSU's Performing Arts Series, said the tribute concert was put together in a little more than a week and proved to be a moving experience for the young musicians.
"All the performers are in their 20s or younger, and they're seeing this with different eyes," Lepore-Hagan said.
"They're young. They've never experienced anything like what's been happening in their world over the past few weeks," she said. "Somehow the concert gave them a chance to make sense of all these horrible events. This is their way of understanding what patriotism is."
Sponsored jointly by YSU, News Channel 33 and Clear Channel Radio, the concert was to be broadcast live on Channel 33, but station officials said they decided to tape it for broadcast at another time because of news developments in Afghanistan on Sunday. A broadcast date has not been determined.
Quality Printing Co. and The DeBartolo Corp. were also sponsors.