The Old Guard marches in parade
The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment Fife and Drum Corps dressed in colonial uniforms march in the Fourth of July parade on the National Mall.

The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) played a key role in the nation's Capitol Fourth of July Parade on the National Mall Sunday with 56 Soldiers taking part in the noon parade in the District of Columbia.

The Old Guard's Regimental Commander, Col. David Anders, was the Commander of Troops for all military forces participating in the parade, Echo Company - Honor Guard - provided marching platoons and joint force participation and TOG's famed Fife and Drum Corps rounded out the team. With 56 members participating, The Old Guard also contributed to the joint color guard and honor guard.

The military, headed by the 257th D.C. National Guard band proceeded down Independence and Constitution Avenues, and dozens of high school marching bands, organizations, drill teams and color guards followed. The parade also included a few extra guests that educated children about safety and patriotism.

"This is an annual event for The Old Guard and it was a thrill to lead the joint formation down Constitution Avenue with thousands of people cheering on such a beautiful day," Anders said. The 90-something degree temperatures plus humidity did not chase away spectators or dampen the enthusiasm of troops as they marched. According to Staff Sgt.

Justin Lemmon of the Air Force Honor Guard, "It's the nation's birthday. Any year we get to celebrate it is awesome." And what better location than the National Mall in D.C. "[The fourth] has meaning, especially living in D.C. around all the history," Marine Lance Cpl. Chris Armstrong of the 8th and I Barracks said.

And that history showed throughout the parade as military, nonprofit organizations and schools marched to themes spanning from the 18th century to present day. The Fife and Drum Corps marched in colonial costumes, while a women's organization paid homage to dress styles in the early 1900s. Even the youngsters stepped up, playing patriotic anthems - both new and old - in salute to the USA. "It's always an honor to be able to participate in the national 4th of July celebration in Washington D.C.

The celebration is integral to what we are all about in celebrating our nation's founding," said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Ruddle Public Affairs supervisor for the Fife and Drum Corps. "What better represents America's independence celebration than the Army's colonial Fife and Drum Corps"' Before the parade began, military troops gathered at 7th and Madison NW.

Troop leaders decided on the sequence and formation of the military troops in the parade. "It's different when you're out in formation, said Staff Sgt. Geoffrey Callahan, The Old Guard. You're pretty much the first face that anyone sees. You always want to make sure that you look your best; you don't want to look raggedy like a porcupine." Of course, after the parade, Soldiers still headed back to the mall to participate in the rest of the day's festivities. Lemmon said, "I'm going to come back after I take the uniform off. I want to partake in the celebration in the nation's capital."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16