NORFOLK-- Nearly 800 performers from ten different countries are gathering this week in Norfolk and using the power of music to unite during a time of great global tension.
Beginning Thursday, Scope will host the Virginia Arts Festival Virginia International Tattoo.
With the unrest between Russia and Ukraine, along with the continuing war in Afghanistan, musical units will perform patriotic tunes and hope their music can serve as a uniting force.
"Over the decades and centuries, it's a proven fact that music is something that unites cultures and you're able to put aside a lot of your difference," said Rob Cross, Virginia Arts Festival Executive Director.
"We have a line of communication even though we don't speak the same language," said Tattoo Musical Director Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bob Szabo. "That's been a topic of conversation with many of us this week. It would be really nice if more countries got together and understand that music, as cliche as it sounds, getting the bands out to the international scene, does make a difference as far as community relations just within the countries."
This year's show is also serving to honor veterans from the 20th Century. The Tattoo is saluting Vietnam War veterans and their families.
Outside Scope, they've set up the traveling Wall That Heals- a half-size replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC. The replica includes more than 58,000 names honoring those who fought in the Vietnam War, died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were missing in action.
"If you've ever been wounded, it hurts terribly inside and out," said Bob Dobek from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. "If you don't cleanse that wound properly, it does not heal properly."
Dobek says viewing the wall helps in that process.
"You have to re-open this wound. You have to cry a little bit. It hurts because we still miss them and still love them," Dobek said.