My list of things I love about the military continues to grow with each new experience I encounter.
I’m presently working on a project with Marine Corps’ First Lady, Mrs. Bonnie Amos, and during a committee meeting she asked if I had ever been to an “Evening Parade” at the Marine Corps Barracks. (Founded in 1801 by Marine Corps Commandant LTC Burrows, also known as “8th and I”, because it is located on the corners of 8th Ave and I Street in Washington, DC). When I told her I had not, she invited me, as well as my family, to attend the last Evening Parade of the summer. Item #706 (The Evening Parade is held every Friday from May through August).
WOW – what a night!
We started out at a reception in the gardens of the Home of the Commandants. This magnificent home was built in 1806 for the Commandant. It is still used for its original purpose as the home of the Marine Corps Commandant. This house has been home to all but the first two commandants, and is said to be the oldest, continuously occupied public building in Washington, D.C.
The honored guests for the evening were the Royal Marines from Great Britain. What pageantry…what history…what traditions…what an incredible experience. As we walked around the gardens sipping on our drinks, seeing all the Marines in their dress blues; hearing the British accents from the Royal Marines and their family members; listening to General Amos address the crowd we all felt like we had walked on to a movie set. My family and I knew we were experiencing something exciting and we tried to embrace every moment. Item # 312; #954.
As we left the reception all the ladies were escorted to their seats by a handsome Marine (all Marines in uniform are hotties, aren’t they? Item #936) I think this was the highlight of the evening for my teenage daughter as a tall, muscular, handsome Marine put out his arm to escort her to her seat. When we sat down, I looked at my daughter and saw a smile streamed across her face. She said, “wasn’t that an amazing experience”. And the Parade had not even started. Item #555
As we looked around the Barracks my children started to ask all kinds of questions. The first thing my son noticed was the U.S. flag flying over the Barracks was different. This flag consists of 15 stars and 15 stripes. This is the flag of our Country as it appeared from 1795-1818. Also known as the “Star Spangled Banner Flag”, the Marines are permitted to fly this version of the flag on the Fridays of the Evening Parade. (The only other location allowed to fly this flag is Fort McHenry in Baltimore). Item #412
The Evening Parade is an impressive display of precision and pageantry. As the Marines marched onto the parade field we were astonished by their control and accuracy. United States Marine Band known as the “President’s Own,” the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, known as the “Commandant’s Own,” along with Alpha and Bravo Companies, which make up the ceremonial infantry units of Marine Barracks Washington were all present. Item #755
Alpha Company includes the Marine Corps’ Silent Drill Platoon which flabbergasted the audience as they tossed their hand polished rifles with fixed bayonets in the air and caught them with precise handling.I had to wonder during their training how many new Marines have been cut by those sharp bayonets. The routine finishes with a unique rifle inspection sequence demonstrating elaborate rifle spins and tosses. Item #892
The event concludes with the Drum and Bugle Corps playing Taps on the rampart of the Barracks. The only way to explain this sight is to show you a picture – worth a thousand words. Breathtaking!
If you ever find yourself traveling to the DC area next summer make sure you add this historic and patriotic event into your itinerary. This experience is definitely one more thing to love about the military.
The event is free although you will want to be sure to get your reservations way in advance because the tickets go very quickly. I’m talking several months in advance. http://www.barracks.marines.mil/Parades/GeneralInformation.aspx