‘Healing process’: Local veterans band perform original songs honoring those who’ve served

Mass. — On Veterans Day, and all year long, the sound of patriotic music is kept alive in the Merrimack Valley by a group made up of veterans and their family members.

The Veterans Den Band plays traditional favorites and original compositions.

Their name is a reference to how they set up a stage when they perform. They create an atmosphere meant to resemble a comfortable rec room with a big rug, soft lamps, and a sofa.

Two Vietnam War Veterans started the band from Lawrence. Ed “Hoppy” Curran (US Army) and Eddie “Murph” Murphy (US Navy) feel music is a fitting tribute that reflects their love of country and pays homage to friends who never made it home.

“I just love music,” said Murphy. “I picked up a guitar in my 20s and started playing.”

Curran has written more than a dozen songs that the band performs. They cover topics like his visit to the Vietnam Memorial Wall and later conflicts like the war in Afghanistan.

Murphy says performing these songs brings back a lot of memories. “When I sing a song, I get the biggest hug and my shoulder is wet and that’s the start of the healing process. . . and that’s why we do it. We do it for ourselves, but we do it for others too. You can’t give a hug without getting a hug.”

Part of the mission is to make younger people aware of this music and the contributions of veterans.

Lauren Gagnon is the daughter of Al who plays the piano. “I think we have so many young people who don’t quite know the sacrifices people are making.”

She is honored to sing with the “Boys” as she calls the band members affectionately.

“Whenever I sing a song from the 30s or the 40s, I think about what my grandmother was probably listening to waiting for my grandfather to come home.”

A particularly poignant moment for Gagnon is when they close the show with a rousing version of “God Bless America”.

The band plays a variety of events like July 4th parades, at nursing homes, and even for incarcerated veterans in a state prison.

The band can be contacted through their Facebook page.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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