Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunset Parade

One day while Matt, Laura and the girls were here, we spent the day sightseeing in DC. Dan had worked half the day, at which point the rest of the gang picked him up at his Rosslyn office and we all continued into DC. Late that afternoon the plan was to hop back in Matt and Laura's car, who would then take us back to Rosslyn so we could get our car and go home. M, L & the girls were going to continue on to have dinner with some friends. But first, we wanted to show them the magnificent Marine Memorial statue of Iwo Jima. Unfortunately, there was a crowd gathering and cars were not allowed into the park area, so we were dropped off and M&L went on their way.

We were curious about the crowd - it seemed apparent that there was going to be some sort of event at the Iwo Jima. So we wandered over to find out what was going on. As we approached, we saw Marines in dress uniforms all over the place, and a crowd gathering at the outskirts of the park. We were met with the wonderful surprise that the Marines were preparing for a "Sunset Parade", to start in about 20 minutes. We seized the opportunity to check this out. Barb claimed some ground space while Dan ran down the street to get some dinner for an impromptu picnic.

We learned that the Marines from Marine Barracks Washington DC perform a sunset parade every Tuesday each summer at the foot of the Iwo Jima statue, and have been doing so since 1956 in honor of those who have given their lives in battle. It was free to the public. We watched in amazement as the drum and bugle corps performed first, putting on a display of precision marching to exciting military music.

It was then followed by the rifle drill team. We were treated to an incredible performance by the silent drill team, who marched in precision and performed rifle wizardry without a drill leader.

The climax of the performance came when "TAPS" was played by a lone bugler on the base of the statue in honor of fallen heroes, followed by the national anthem, to which everyone rose.

This was the final performance of the summer and we were so thankful that we got to see it! A must see for any of you who come to visit next summer!!!

Learn more about the Sunset Parade and Marine Barracks Washington DC by clicking here.

No comments: