Approximately 1,500 visitors and residents of the Nation's Capital celebrated the U.S. Army's 242nd birthday with Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" at Twilight Tattoo June 14 at Conmy Hall, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.

The Honorable Robert M. Speer, acting Secretary of the Army, Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army, and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey hosted the patriotic performance, which captures 242 years of Soldiers' stories spanning across generations of men and women who have answered the call to uphold America's freedom and democracy.

"On 14 June 1775, a company of Pennsylvania riflemen got together while George Washington and a bunch of militia from the New England states were battling the British in and around Boston, and that formed the nucleus of what was the Continental Army and soon became the United States Army," said Milley. "From that birth until today, for 242 years, the United States Army has stood proud, shoulder to shoulder, with our brothers and sisters in the Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard in defending our liberties and freedoms."

Speer presented Byron Derringer, a descendent of Cpt. James E. Miller, a World War I Soldier, with the Distinguished Flying Cross award for actions taken in the skies above Corberry and Barrieux, France on March 9, 1918.

"We have a privilege today to be able to recognize not only the heraldry of our total 242 years but also that point and time, where we recognize, late, a Distinguished Flying Cross for an American hero," said Speer. "We're very proud today to have some of the descendants here from James Miller's family here and able to represent him and a lineage of what he achieved on those battlefields as the first individual who gave his life in that war in aviation."

Milley administered the oath of enlistment to 35 young men and women who will join the ranks of the U.S. Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard.

"We're the only country that takes an oath to an idea," said Milley. "An idea that's embedded within a document called the constitution not too far from here. That idea is incredibly powerful. It's an idea for which those of us in uniform are sworn to protect and defend, even at the cost of our life. That is the oath they are about to take."

Twilight Tattoo is an hour-long, live-action military performance featuring performances by The U.S. Army Blues, vocalists from The U.S. Army Band Downrange and U.S. Army Band Voices, The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and The U.S. Army Drill Team.

Twilight Tattoo weekly performances will run through Wednesday, Aug. 9, with exceptions on July 5 and July 12, when there will be no Twilight Tattoo scheduled. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.twilight.mdw.army.mil

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington serves as the Army Forces Component and core staff element of Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region which conducts operations that deter, prevent and respond to threats aimed at the National Capital Region; and conducts world-class ceremonial musical and special events in support of our Nation's leadership.