Soldiers participate in Independence Day celebration

Story by Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. – Soldiers assigned to the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), participated in the National Independence Day celebration around the National Capital Region, July 4, 2017.

The day began with a performance by the U.S. Army Fife and Drum Corps in front of the National Archives Museum, in Washington, District of Columbia.

The Fife and Drum Corps is one of four premier musical organizations in the U.S. Army. Members perform using musical instruments and wear uniforms similar to those used by military musicians of the Continental Army during the American Revolution.

“I really liked hearing the drums, they were my favorite part,” said Timothy Jennings, a local resident and fourth grader. “It just gets me pumped up for everything that is happening around me.”

Later, Soldiers from the Presidential Salute Battery (PSB) fired a “National Salute” at 12 p.m. on Whipple Field, on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.

Since 1810, the “National Salute” has been defined by the War Department as equal to the number of states in the Union.

“Each round represents a salute for the state that has been announced,” said 1st Lt. Tony Ronchick, platoon leader with the PSB. “This is done to remind us that together we are one United States.”

This has been a tradition to commemorate the nation’s history, and occurs on Army installations.

“The Presidential Salute Battery’s motto is ‘The Highest Honor’,” said Ronchick. “Participating in this event is just that, the highest honor. We’re part of what people think of when they think about what today means and it’s a privilege to be a part of this.”

The PSB, founded in 1953, fires cannon salutes in honor of the President of the United States, visiting foreign dignitaries, and official guests of the Unites States. The battery also fires in support of memorial affairs for all military services in Arlington National Cemetery.

Later in the day, Soldiers participated in the National Independence Day Parade in D.C. The annual parade consists of bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, VIPs and national dignitaries, in a celebration in honor of America’s birthday.

“This has become a family tradition for us since we moved to the area in 2012,” said Roger Jennings, an Arlington, Virginia resident and father of two. “All of our family is still over on the west coast, being able to come out and be part of everything the city has to offer has become our way of creating lasting family memories together.”

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