WASHINGTON -- Thousands of visitors and residents in the Nation's Capital celebrated the 238th birthday of the U.S. Army with Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own." The Army's elite ceremonial units performed during the U.S. Army Military District of Washington's weekly 'Twilight Tattoo' performance on Summerall Field at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., June 12, 2013.

Army vice Chief of Staff General John Campbell was the host of the performance and joined audience members as they watched the Soldiers from The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the U.S. Army Drill Team, the Commander-in-Chief's Guard, the Continental Color Guard, the Caisson Platoon, the Presidential Salute Battery, the U.S. Army Blues, and the U.S. Army Chorus celebrate the Army.

Two hundred thirty-eight years ago, America's leaders established the Continental Army, beginning a rich heritage of successfully defending the nation and her citizens. This week's Twilight Tattoo continued a week of Army celebrations highlighting its strength, professionalism and bravery of its Soldiers in the all-volunteer force. This 238th birthday celebration commemorates America's Army, its Soldiers, families and civilians.

The history of Twilight Tattoo began more than 300 years ago as British troops were summoned from the warmth and hospitality of local pubs by a bugle and drum call to return to the barracks. The familiar tune told tavern owners "doe den tap toe," or "time to turn off the taps." The troops knew the call to mean "taps off," and minutes later they were back in their tents.

The modern-day call is known as "Tattoo" and during basic training the call signals the time to quiet down and hit the bunks. For the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, the call serves as a tribute dedicated to the vitality of our nation and to the sacrifices of those who forged America into the land of the free and the home of the brave. It is for our forefathers and fellow Americans that MDW proudly presents "Twilight Tattoo."

For information about the next scheduled Twilight Tattoo visit: www.twilight.mdw.army.mil.