Colorado first responders pick up instruments to inspire hope and strength in these trying times. 

The sounds of drums and bagpipes will fill the air across Colorado as part of a nationwide movement called “Sunset Solidarity.”

Sunset Solidarity is a nationwide movement that encourages bagpipers and drummers to play outside at sundown, sharing their music to inspire courage, strength, and resolve when facing times of great adversity and distress. Historically, the Great Highland Bagpipe was used to escort warriors into battle, the sound intended to lift their spirits, and instill in them great confidence and courage.

This is a tradition that has been observed for centuries, and here in Colorado, first responders, firefighters, and law enforcement officers are taking up their instruments and joining in the call.  

In Parker, Colorado Aurora Fire Department Captain Thomas Johnson plans to play his bagpipes every evening at dusk until our community no longer faces this pandemic. He is part of the Emerald Colorado Society, a group with members from 24 different Colorado law enforcement, firefighters, and public safety departments. All members are of Irish ancestry. They come from all over the state and usually play tributes for in-the-line-of-duty death funerals for their fallen brothers and sisters. 

They have a new mission now, and many have taken up the same post at Johnson, playing each night at dusk outside their homes. Though many miles apart, they play together, sending their notes skyward in a message of hope and solidarity.

Johnson has heard his neighbors clapping after he plays, showing that people are listening and the message is being heard. He has gotten some company and accompaniment on the drums for a few evenings from South Metro’s Lieutenant Eric Hendee, another member of the Emerald Colorado Society.  

You can see them play together in the video shared below:

The hope of the group is that pipers and drummers from all over the world will join in their practice and play a song each night at dusk, together, signifying that another day has passed, that we are not alone, and to instill courage where it's needed.

A call went out over the weekend from the Western United States Pipe Band Association inviting pipers around the world to join in.

We appreciate the good-natured and inspiring way these first responders are working together to bring people comfort and hope, especially as they work every day on the front lines keeping our communities safe and fighting against the coronavirus. 

Have you heard any of the Sunset Solidarity performances? We want to know what you think about this simple yet touching way to lift the community up. Share your reactions and thoughts in the comments.