The 2016 Twilight Tattoo season kicks off May 4, and the Army is hard at work putting the finishing touches on the annual spectacle.

Twilight Tattoo is an hour-long, live-action military pageant featuring Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own."

"It's a great representation of our nation's history, and it's very entertaining for children of all ages, including the adults," said Lynn Kirby, public affairs specialist with the U.S. Army Military District of Washington.

The event gives audiences a look into American history through performances by The U.S. Army Blues, vocalists from The U.S. Army Band Downrange and The U.S. Army Band Voices, The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and The U.S. Army Drill Team.

"The musical components are of the highest quality to compare with anything in the industry," Kirby said during an interview with the Pentagram. "It's really just a great moment to get to know who the Army really is, to build relationships with the Soldiers and see how they, through this show, give back to the country more than just serving in uniform, but trying to restore or build upon that patriotism."

This year's Twilight Tattoo season will feature three specific commemoration shows that will highlight different historical military conflicts.

The July 1 performance will highlight Operation Desert Storm; the June 22 performance will highlight the Vietnam War; and July 27 performance will highlight the Korean War, according to Kirby.

"Conflict highlights vary year to year," Kirby said. "It depends on what kind of anniversaries are coming up. This year is the 25th anniversary of Desert Storm."

Beyond the extensive rehearsal and sound tests, Kirby said there is a great deal of work that goes into making a Twilight Tattoo run smoothly.

She noted Soldiers from The Old Guard who organize the historic uniforms for every year, compiling, sewing and altering garments from myriad periods throughout U.S. military history from World War I to current operations.

"The Flag Shop has done a phenomenal job at organizing the uniforms for this year," Kirby said. "Really the visual aspect of the show is the uniforms and the historic period pieces… You have all of these period pieces and -- all the way down to the insignia patches and the weapons they're carrying -- they're all authentic."

And that authenticity, right down to the guns the Soldiers are carrying, is an invaluable facet of the show, according to Kirby.

"It's a real thing," she said. "The authenticity of the show is a huge selling point. You're not getting some Hollywood reproduction, you're getting what they really used in that era."

Twilight Tattoo audience access

According to JBM-HH Regulation 190-16, Twilight Tattoo attendees without Department of Defense credentials will have to undergo security procedures when entering the joint base.

The regulation states, "When approved and designated, persons without authorized DoD credentials will be directed to specific gate(s) and security measures will be directed and/or conducted prior to entrance onto the installation and/or while on the installation."

All non-DoD personnel ages 18 and older must present a valid state photo or other authorized identification for access to the event, according to the regulation. Furthermore, vehicles are subject to a 100 percent inspection before being allowed access to the joint base.

For more information about the Twilight Tattoo and for the full schedule, visit http://twilight.mdw.army.mil.

Pentagram Staff Writer Guv Callahan can be reached at wcallahan@dcmilitary.com.