Since September 11, 2001, State of Grace has had the great privilege and pleasure of saluting our men and women in uniform through dances choreographed to depict and honor all branches of the United States Military.
These salutes have been performed at museums, military bases, conferences and rallies in the US and the UK.
Clearly it has been a time to concentrate on honoring our amazing warriors who have served and continue to serve our country in every branch of the Armed Services.
State of Grace performs "With Honors"
at Glenn Beck's Rally For America in Auburn, Indiana.
Giving Honor to Whom Honor is Due . . .
Lt. Col. Arthur Cregger, USAF. (1930 - 2002)
"With Honors" was created in his memory.
The Story of one of our Signature Dances: "With Honors".
The first dance of our series of Military Salutes was set for a funeral at Arlington Cemetery in February of 2002 for Lt. Col. Arthur Cregger, a Viet Nam Air Force pilot. What began as a memorial for a friend went on to become an ongoing tribute to fallen soldiers at conferences, rallies, miltary bases and historic sites. The dance was performed again in North Carolina, on Memorial Day of 2002, at a large Christian conference made up of many veterans.
The following year, "With Honors" was selected as the appropriate means of tribute for a fallen Indiana soldier and was performed at the Glenn Beck Rally for America in Auburn, Indiana. Approximately 15,000 attended the rally on March 22, 2003 to show support for our troops at the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"With Honors" was performed a few months later, along with two additional salute dances at The Yorkshire Air Museum in Halvington, York, United Kingdom. State of Grace performed multiple times throughout the day to salute our coalition troops at the special celebration of "100 Years of Flight" hosted by the museum.
That summer, the dance hit home in a new way when it was performed at a secret military intelligence installation in the UK. During our concert there, our own Kirsti Elliott dedicated "With Honors" as a memorial to her good friend who had just lost his life in Iraq during the first suicide bombing at a military checkpoint. After the performance, base operatives approached us and thanked us for
reminding them, in a real and moving way, that there were real lives at stake on the other
end of their work in military intelligence.
In 2005, "With Honors" was performed at the
Temple University Dance Department's 30th Anniversary Gala Open Concert.
(Connie Taylor Krupp is a Temple Dance Alumni.)
In 2007, the US Army commissioned State of Grace to create two works
for the 400th Anniversary event at Fort Monroe, also known as
Freedom's Fortress. "With Honors" was performed as a salute
to fallen warriors in every branch of the military.
"With Honors: Part Two" was a new piece specifically
choreographed to honor the US Army and was titled
"Army Strong". (Read more below . . .)
State of Grace presents "Allied Remembrances"
The Yorkshire Air Museum
Elvington, York, United Kingdom
State of Grace was commissioned to present "With Honors" to salute our fallen veterans at the
"Freedom's Fortress Celebration 1607 - 2007.
At a planning meeting for the event, Fort Monroe's base commander, Col. Jason T. Evans, made a comment to the State of Grace artistic director, Connie Taylor Krupp.
"I know you will be saluting all the branches of the military, but I sure would love to see the Army up there!"
That comment led to the creation and debut of "Army Strong" on May 24, 2007 at Fort Monroe,
home of the US Army's Training and Doctrine Command.
Below are some moments from our performance at Fort Monroe.
One of the most moving portions of the celebration of Freedom's Fortress came when Major General Doug Carver, US Army Deputy Chief of Chaplains, addressed the shameful past of America's slave history and prayed a prayer requesting forgiveness for our Nation.
After the event came to an end, Gen. Carver presented Taylor with one of his general's coins and said to her:
"This is one of the same coins that I give out in Iraq and Afghanistan to our soldiers for service well-rendered.
Just keep doing what you are doing.
Our soldiers need it."
Taylor regards this coin to be State of Grace's very own
The Base Commander speaks,
The US Army TRADOC Band plays,
SG Board member, Glenna Jehl, prays,
and cannons along Fort Monroe's moat fire a salute
"Freedom's Fortress Celebration: 1607 - 2007"
State of Grace's most recent Military Salutes were choreographed for the 10th Anniversary of Remembrance of September 11, 2001.
The first piece, "Banner Over Me", depicted Marines in Afghanistan carrying the US Flag in battle.
The dance is performed to a narration fusion of Psalm 23 and The Star-Spangled Banner, in which the lyrics from the two songs combine
and complete one another.
The second piece was danced as a prayer for all branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
(We included our National Guard as a sixth branch because they also served in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
The dance is titled "Prayer For Our Watchmen".
A commemorative plaque by the 9/11 site above says it best.
If you are looking for a great cause supporting our Military Veterans,
please check out Serve Our Willing Warriors at
Connie Taylor Krupp is a long-time volunteer and blogger for this great organization that visits our warriors + their families at the nearby Walter Reed at Bethesda and Fort Belvoir Community hospitals.
SOWW has been working hard towards the opening of the Bull Run Warrior Retreat, a 37 acre retreat in Virginia's beautiful hunt country as a "home away from home" for short breaks for the warrior families at these hospitals.
Many of our warriors undergo multiple surgeries and remain at the hospital for an average of up to three years.
Their families either move to be near their warrior or only visit when time and money is available.
We hope to reunite them away from the hospital environment in a place that feels like a home and offers wonderful recreational activities nearby.
If you have any questions regarding Serve Our Willing Warriors, please contact Connie Taylor Krupp at
She'll be happy to take questions or ideas about getting involved to serve our nation's Willing Warriors!