The slow beat of the drum and echo of the bugle filled the silence in Arlington National Cemetery today (o4 June 2015) as members the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps participated in a Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, marking the completion of Colonel Blakeslee A. Connors’ assignment as Commander of the 4th Battalion 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment.
The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps is the only unit of its kind in the armed forces, and is part of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). The Fife and Drum Corps is stationed at Fort Myer, VA. The musicians of this unit recall the days of the American Revolution as they perform in uniforms patterned after those worn by the musicians of General George Washington’s Continental Army. Military musicians of the period wore the reverse colors of the regiments to which they were assigned. The uniforms worn by the members of the Corps are dated circa 1784, and consist of black tricorn hats, white wigs, waistcoats, colonial coveralls, and distinct red regimental coats. In support of the president, the Corps performs at all armed-forces arrival ceremonies for visiting dignitaries and heads of state at the White House, and has participated in every Presidential Inaugural Parade since President John F. Kennedy’s in 1961. Read more about the regiment here.
Over the years we have had the honor to commiserate with several members of the unit — including the drummer from today’s Wreath-Laying Ceremony, Mark Reilly. We are humbled to know Mark and his many fellow musicians who are the custodians of tradition. Thank you to all of the members of the Old Guard past and present — including our friends and now retired Old Guard musicians Tedford and Tim.
Tradition is a hard won thing — thank you to all those who guard it.
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