JACKSONVILLE, AL (WBRC) - It’s been a whirlwind since the moment The Marching Southerners arrived in Italy.
“We flew into Venice and then toured Venice a little bit the next day and then headed down to Florence. They got a couple nights in Florence and we stopped in Siena,” says Ken Bodiford.
Then it was on to Rome. The band performed in the World Peace Day parade and listened to Pope Francis.
“It was an incredible experience for the band to march right in there and then they’re facing the window where the Pope came out and gave his blessings. It was just an amazing experience for everyone,” says Bodiford.
After the parade, the group had six hours to roam around, leaving their buses in a parking garage. However, after getting back to bus, the excitement was quickly replaced with panic.
“Someone broke into bus #8. Someone stole bookbags and things out of bookbags. Probably the most concerning things were the passports,” Bodiford said.
Concerned about how they were going to fly home in three days, they called their tour company for a game plan. They filed police reports and were able to get new passports the next day because they took photocopies of them before they even left the U.S. Bodiford says it hasn’t put a damper on this amazing trip.
“The students have been able to see things that they’ve only seen in history books. Like the statue of David, the Roman Colosseum. It’s amazing to look at their faces when they first see these things. Far more than a parade for them.”
The tour company is working with the bus and insurance company on the other items that were stolen. The group returns home Friday.