Nominated for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Music, the 2012 Grawemeyer Award in music composition and winner of the 2011 National Band Association's William D. Revelli Memorial Composition Contest, Symphony No. 2 - "Epitaphs Unwritten" is a monumental work dedicated to the protagonists of freedom who, through sacrifice, suffering, and alacrity to the devotion of their cause, unconditionally liberate those unwillingly subjugated to degradation. Commissioned by a consortium of 18 university and conservatory wind symphonies, Epitaphs Unwritten was inspired by the words penned by an American soldier on a peace marker in the small village of Foy, Belgium near Bastogne. The peace marker silently stands watch over a tranquil field that once served as a temporary burial site for American soldiers during the "battle of the bulge". Private David J. Phillips (G Co, 3rd BN, 506th PIR/101st Airborne Division) wrote:
"We have only died in vain if you believe so; you have to decide the wisdom of our choice, by the world which you shall build upon our headstones; and the everlasting truth, which have your voice. Though dead, we are not heroes yet, nor can be, 'til the living by their lives which are the tools, carve us the epitaph of wise men, and give us not the epitaph of fools."
The words of the first half of the Foy peace marker are systematically converted to pitches and (musically) 'spoken' in the work's second movement, entitled Lament. Using a similar conversion process, the words that form the second half of the Foy peace marker are 'spoken' in the work's finale, entitled Grand March Eternal. The author's prose speaks to the "wisdom" of their 'choice', referencing an event marked by great suffering and sacrifice, with a plea that future generations would learn from this event, "carve" them the "epitaph of wise men", and "build upon" their "headstones...the everlasting truth". The work's first movement, entitled Echoes of Sacrifice, pays homage to this referenced event - a conflagration of great suffering and sacrifice, while serving as a point of reference for the author's prose that is musically represented, in its entirety, in the final two movements. Epitaphs "Unwritten" affirms a great responsibility on the living, whose epitaphs have yet to be written, by bearing witness to those heroes, past and present, in a manner that ardently perpetuates the everlasting truth, thus creating future heroes and gaining us the epitaph of wise men.