Twilight Tattoo Returns to Celebrate America’s Army (photos)

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington’s  summer tradition of presenting The U.S. Army’s Twilight Tattoo military pageant will once again return live on most Wednesdays in May, June and July. This free and family-friendly event has been presented by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington for the last 60 years in the National Capital Region, but due to the Covid pandemic was last performed for the public in 2019.

Twilight Tattoo at Fort Myer in Arlington Va. is an hour-long live-action military pageant featuring soldiers from The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” offering glimpses of American History through the eyes of The American Soldier. 

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Thompson is the battalion commander of the fourth battalion in the Old Guard, and also the commander of troops for Twilight Tattoo. To Thompson, the Tattoo affords a chance for the Army to connect with the public: “This might be their only chance to see a soldier. So we want to make sure they understand the dedication, commitment and professionalism of American soldiers like I see first hand here on the field.”

The 3d U.S. Infantry, traditionally known as “The Old Guard,” is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army, serving our nation since 1784. It is the Army’s official ceremonial unit and escort to the president, and it also provides security for Washington, D.C., in time of national emergency or civil disturbance. The United States Army Continental Color Guard’s mission is to showcase the U.S. army’s precision nationally and internationally. 

The Twilight Tattoo features performances by The U.S. Army Blues, The U.S. Army Band Downrange, The U.S. Army Voices, the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard, The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the Caisson Platoon, the Continental Color Guard, and the U.S. Army Drill Team combining precision and discipline with superb musicianship. Immediately following the performances, spectators are invited onto the field to meet the performers for photos and friendly chat.

The name “military tattoo” dates back to around 1600 and has nothing to do with the word for skin art. It is from the Dutch phrase “doe den tap toe,” which translates into “turn off the tap” from a signal made by trumpeters and drummers to announce to innkeepers and bartenders near military garrisons to stop giving soldiers beers so they can return to the barracks.

Twilight Tattoo takes place on Summerall Field inside of Fort Myer, Arlington, Va, which is adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery.  The main show begins at 7 p.m., with pre-ceremony entertainment starting at 6:30 pm.

The entrance gate to the base is the Hatfield Gate at 2nd St. S, Fort Myer, VA, 22211. Parking is available, but as you will be entering a military base, expect a vehicle inspection when entering. In the event of inclement weather, it moves indoors to nearby Conmy Hall where seating is limited. No tickets are required but when there is threat of rain, it is advisable to check in advance as to available seating.

For additional information including an event schedule and directions click here 

You can view a slideshow of Jeff Malet’s photos taken during a dress rehearsal of the U.S. Army’s Twilight Tattoo on April 27 by clicking on the photo icons below.





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