Caddo takes pride in shared history with Fort Sill

The 77th U.S. Army Band Brass Quintet will participate in Caddo's Sesquicentennial event, Saturday, July 2 at 10 a.m. Photo provided.

By Vesta Baker

The members of Caddo’s Sesquicentennial Planning Committee have been hosting historic presentations each month of 2022, educating the public about the rich heritage of their ancestors. In the study for those historical presentations, it has become evident that the early history of Caddo was influenced in many ways by the presence of nearby forts, especially Fort Sill, which was staked out on Jan. 8, 1869.

The Texas Road was well established, passing through Fort Gibson to Caddo and then trails branched out across Indian Territory to Fort Washita, Fort Arbuckle, and Fort Sill, to provide communication, and supply routes, before the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad arrived. Caddo newspaper articles from the 1800s often made reference to news from Fort Sill, and included reports of interest about military men and family members who passed through Caddo to Fort Sill. The local economy was also boosted by the frequent visitors, and enterprising Caddo ranchers prospered by providing horses and mules to the Army.

Fort Sill is the only Indian Territory Army post to remain, as an active military installation, so the committee set out to highlight that shared heritage by somehow including Fort Sill in the Sesquicentennial celebration.  The fort evolved from a frontier cavalry post into one of the most important military installations in the United States. The Fires Center of Excellence, is home to the 77th Army Band, called “The Pride of Fort Sill,” and that fits nicely into the celebration plans.

The 77th Army Band consists of some of the finest musicians from across the United States. Through performances at public schools, parades, and festivals “The Pride of Fort Sill” promotes the Army, our national interests and sets the conditions that lead to trust and confidence in America’s Army. One of   elements of the band is the Brass Quintet, which has performed at the White House, presidential inaugurations, and official state ceremonies in the Nation’s Capital. They have been selected repeatedly as the first ensemble to honor new presidents with the traditional “Hail to the Chief” on live national broadcasts. The U.S. Army Brass Quintet frequently provides musical support for special events hosted by the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, and the Army Chief of Staff, as well as for ceremonies supporting the Military District of Washington.

The small town of Caddo is proud to be selected to host this outstanding musical ensemble. The Sesquicentennial Committee urges the public to attend this event, to witness the outstanding musical performance, and to share the joy of Caddo citizens in a new tradition, passing the torch to our bicentennial descendants.  The program begins with the Army Brass Quintet concert, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 2.  After the Sesquicentennial Proclamation Ceremony, spectators may view the contents of a time capsule, buried in 1972, and all are invited to enjoy dance performances, a magic act, and a variety of musical entertainment. Questions may be addressed to civcem.caddo@yahoo.com or text (580) 367-0358.

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