FORT JACKSON, S.C. (June 26, 2014) -- Fort Jackson's annual celebration of America's independence, the "Torchlight Tattoo," is scheduled for 8 p.m., July 4, at Hilton Field.
This year's formal ceremony features a cannon salute to each state and territory of the United States, music by the 282nd Army Band, and a 30-minute fireworks display.
The tattoo is deeply rooted in military history. The original tattoo was a military drum performance and signified the time of the musical call for civilian establishments to turn off the taps, and for soldiers to make their torch-lit walk back to their encampments to retire for the evening. In this usage, the word tattoo comes from the Dutch "doe den tap toe" meaning "to turn off the taps." This word was linked to the noise made by mallets used to shut the beer barrels. That noise sounded like a drum. Since then, the word was used to signify the last military call before curfews.
The public is invited to share in the evening's festivities. Visitors should plan to arrive early for the best seats and parking. Access to the installation may be through Gate 2 (Forest Drive/Strom Thurmond Boulevard), Gate 4 (Percival/Boyden Arbor roads) or Gate 5 (Leesburg Road). Everyone All adults must possess a valid state or government issued identification card for entry. The vehicle driver must possess a valid driver's license, valid proof of insurance and a valid registration. Once entering the installation drivers should follow signs and the instructions given by traffic control personnel.
Motorcycle riders must also conform to Department of Defense regulations to enter post. Requirements include: wearing a DOT approved helmet, full-fingered gloves, over the ankle boots, long-sleeved shirt/jacket and reflective vest or clothing.
Anyone planning to attend the festivities should arrange to arrive early to ensure the best seating and to avoid being turned away at the last minute. Additionally, all visitors should be aware that random vehicle searches will be conducted at the gates. At 9 p.m. gates 1, 4 and 5 will become exit only to facilitate the timely exit of vehicles following the fireworks. Gate 2 will allow entry to the post, but late arrivals will be directed to a parking lot where the fireworks display will be visible.
Food and drink concessions will be available at Hilton Field starting at 4 p.m. Pets, grills, alcoholic beverages, firearms, and personal fireworks of any type are not permitted, and coolers are not allowed in the bleachers. Any unattended items will be subject to confiscation and/or destruction by military police.
Bleacher and main grandstand seating are available and guests may bring lawn chairs and blankets for use on the field. There will be various activities open to families with small children. Activities will include games, crafts and rides.
The evening's festivities will conclude at approximately 10 p.m. On leaving Hilton Field, guests are encouraged to pay close attention to departure directions as traffic routes to the various gates will be tightly controlled and once on a specific gate route there will be no means to take a different route.