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Daniel Boothe at a memorial

Daniel Boothe’s musical studies at George Mason University prepared him to compose a solemn composition to accompany a documentary on the return of fallen soldiers.

Fallen, But Never Forgotten

For months, Daniel Boothe grappled with one question: “How do you express the feelings of loss caused by death?” With the experience that comes with a Master of Arts in music composition from George Mason University and an award-winning career as a military musical conductor, Boothe still struggled with his most important musical assignment to date.

Just before receiving his current assignment at the Pentagon, Boothe, who also studied musical composition at Mason, was asked by the U.S. Department of Defense to compose a custom musical accompaniment for a video documentary of the dignified transfers of fallen U.S. soldiers returning home through Dover Air Force Base. Almost all fallen combat soldiers return to the United States through Dover, Boothe said.

The military sought him out after deciding the task should be supported with music written by a military officer, said Boothe who volunteered for the task.

While composing the music, Boothe said he was asked to witness and participate in a dignified transfer. “That was a life-changing thing. You understand [death] in a whole new way when you witness a dignified transfer,” he said.