By Courtney A. Dock, JFHQ-NCR/MDW Public AffairsMay 5, 2016
More than a thousand audience members came out to Conmy Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, May 4, for this year's opening performance of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington's (MDW) Twilight Tattoo.
Twilight Tattoo's opening performance was a double-header due to unseasonably cool and wet weather conditions. The first performance was hosted by MDW Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Bradley A. Becker.
The second performance was co-hosted by the Honorable Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the army for Installations, Energy and Environment, and Lt. Gen. David D. Halverson, assistant chief of staff for Installation Management. Hammack is the primary advisor to the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff of the Army on all Army matters related to Installation policy, oversight, and coordination of energy security and management. The U.S. Army Installation Management Command delivers and integrates base support to enable readiness for a self-reliant and globally-responsive all-volunteer Army.
"The U.S. Army Military District of Washington is proud to bring this show to the community," said Ron McLendon II, U.S. Army Military District of Washington chief of community relations. "Bring your family, your friends, your group, and your enthusiasm for our country to one of our performances. This program salutes not only the Soldiers who defend our country, it salutes you, the citizens and patriots we defend."
Twilight Tattoo is an hour-long, live-action military pageant featuring Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own." Audience members from around the world experience a glimpse into American history through performances by the U.S. Army Blues, vocalists from the U.S. Army Band Downrange, the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and the U.S. Army Drill Team.
Twilight Tattoo performances begin at 7 p.m. Pre-ceremony pageantry begins at 6:30 p.m. Performances from May 4 through Aug. 3 will be located at Summerall Field at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia. And of course if the weather is bad, it is held indoors at Conmy Hall on JBM-HH.
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 MDW, 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.
The MDW's Twilight Tattoo can trace its own history back to the years before World War II. At that time, on the grounds of Fort Myer in Arlington, Va., the 3rd Cavalry Regiment held military shows during the winter months. The MDW revived the traditional show in 1961 to showcase the talents of its ceremonial units.
As Twilight Tattoo grew in popularity, the Army adapted the show, its location and the time of year it was performed to fit the growing needs of the American people. Settling on performances in Washington, D.C., throughout the summer months, has allowed for thousands of audience members to experience the ceremony and pageantry of the United States Army.
The 2016 Twilight Tattoo season has performances scheduled for each Wednesday evening (except July 6 and July 13) until Aug. 3. Dates and times are subject to change, so please check the Twilight Schedule online at: http://twilight.mdw.army.mil/schedule.