SEARCY, Ark. (KTHV) - On Monday, May 28 the Searcy High School band will march in the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington D.C.

The group of more than 200 students, parents and chaperones embarked on a 20-hour bus ride Thursday, May 24, to our nation’s capital, where they will spend the weekend visiting museums and monuments ahead of Monday’s parade.

“The journey that's ahead is a wonderful one and an educational one for our kids,” Band Director Tony Luzzi said.

Congressman French Hill (AR-02) nominated Searcy High School to represent Arkansas in the parade. According to Luzzi, bands from all 50 states are expected to attend.

The trip comes after months of fundraising by band members and their families.

“This is a group effort and we are grateful to our community, our state, and our congressman for allowing us this opportunity to let us take our kids to a place they might not be able to go in the future,” Luzzi said.

“We just appreciate everything they’ve done for us,” band member Jake Williamson said.

Searcy police led the charter buses filled with excited band members out of town as parents and other supporters cheered. For Williamson and other band members, the excitement does not outshine the reason for their upcoming performance.

“It's important to me because it helps us remember the veterans that have served for us, and it's a great way to honor them with this parade and the music that we play, and we can all combine together and be one group celebrating music,” Williamson said.

You can watch the National Memorial Day Parade live online here.

The parade will also air on THV11 Sunday, June 3rd at 11:30 a.m.