Remembering a veteran who made history with his passion for music

Master Sgt. Michael Diuguid became first African American drum major in the Rose Bowl Parade

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Loved ones gathered for a memorial service Tuesday to honor retired Master Sgt. Michael Diuguid, a 24-year veteran of the Marine Corps.

The Lynchburg native died Feb. 28 at the age of 50.

Van Henderson recalled the first time he met his in-law, “An immediate impression of love and respect. He grew up to be an individual who was no-nonsense.”

That attitude led the Brookville High School graduate to the Marine Corps.

An accomplished musician, Diuguid joined the Marine Corps Band, where he became the first African American drum major in the Rose Bowl Parade.

“To be the first at anything is huge; and obviously in his particular case, at such a grand event that’s national, nationally televised, it was a huge event,” said Henderson.

Russell Nixon, Diuguid’s childhood friend, said as a person, the Marine never marched to his own drum.

“Just like he showed in the Marine Corps, he did everything 110% and he was a friend to everybody 110%. He gave his heart to everybody, and that’s a special gift,” said Nixon.

Ashley Brown said her cousin orchestrated that to others, “Mike taught me the toughest lesson I’ve ever had to learn, and that’s to never forget to tell the ones that have helped shape your life how much they mean to you.”

Diuguid’s remains will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


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