The Washington National Region has been battling nearly two weeks of rainy days, but that didn't keep audience members away from the May 11, 2016 Twilight Tattoo on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
Nearly 1,500 people filled Conmy Hall to witness the military precision performance by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and The U.S. Army Band, "Pershing's Own."
This week's host was Maj. Gen. Laura Richardson, the chief of the Office of Army Legislative Liaison. Richardson was joined by other OCLL staff, members of Congress and various Congressional aides and staffers.
"It doesn't matter how many times I see this show, it always gives me goose bumps," said Richardson. "We bring America here. The kids get to see it and they're just so excited. They get to go down on the floor and meet the Soldiers. The Soldiers are rock stars."
The Legislative Liaison Office is directly responsible to the Secretary of the Army for legislative affairs, including formulating, coordinating, supervising, and executing the Army's Congressional policy and strategy. The OCLL ensures the overall integration of the Army's efforts with Congress, develops comprehensive congressional engagement strategies for Army senior leaders, and disseminates critical information on all major Congressional activities.
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 run through Aug. 3, and will be located at Summerall Field at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, unless of course if the weather is bad, and then 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.