One Man’s Perspective; Tattoo

What do you think of when someone says TATTOO? For me it is permanently marking the skin with some sort of pattern. We were invited to attend a Tattoo, so this definition didn’t fit. I looked in the dictionary and found a TATTOO is also a signal on a drum, bugle or trumpet at night for soldiers or sailors to return to their barracks. In other words, turn off the taps, quite down and go to sleep. I understood that, but I still didn’t know how it fit in the scheme of things.

TWILIGHT TATTOO and I quote, “is a time-honored tradition that blends the precision and discipline of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) with the superb musical prowess of The U. S. Army Band “Perishing’s Own.” 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 meant “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 the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, 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.

Today’s Twilight Tattoo dates to the years before World War II. The U.S. Army Military District of Washington revived the show in 1961 to showcase the talents of Soldiers from the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. The U.S. Army Drill Team, the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard, the Continental Color Guard, the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon, the Presidential Salute Battery, and the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” Twilight demonstrates that U.S. Army history is America’s history. Showcasing musical and military ceremonial excellence, Twilight Tattoo salutes the service and honors the sacrifice of Soldiers and their Families, past and present. The Soldier-led theatrical vignettes illustrate the unlimited possibilities that exist in the U.S. Army and inspires audiences to be all you can be.”

You know that if it is done by the U.S. Army, it is done right. This is held for a limited time and outdoors on the parade grounds. But it rained, and they had enough time to move the event indoors. It looked like an ice-skating rink, felt like one also, with seats for about 5,000.  Every seat was taken, and some guests were in chairs on the main floor. About a third of the group were students.   

It was a fantastic affair, with all the activities mentioned. But I thought the precision team where they toss their rifles to their partner was outstanding.

My quote from their flyer tells the story, but it doesn’t say how proud it makes you feel, to be an American.  GOD BLESS AMERICA.


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with our events and get exclusive article content right to your inbox!

Latest Stories

Other Featured Articles


All Article in Current Issue

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with our events and get exclusive article content right to your inbox!