Soldiers participate in Alexandria’s 268th birthday

Story by Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. – Soldiers assigned to the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), joined music and entertainment groups to honor America’s birthday and the City of Alexandria’s 268th birthday at Oronoco Bay Park, Alexandria, Va., July 8.

“Today we have the honor of celebrating the birth of this great city we get to live in,” said Allison Silberberg, Mayor of Alexandria, Virginia.

During the event, Soldiers from the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps performed for the audience at the waterfront park.

The FDC 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.

“It’s always nice to see the Fife and Drums preform,” said Eric Anderson, an Alexandria, Virginia resident and artist. “I have seen them perform several times and they are always great. Their uniforms are also great to see, they just give me that patriotic feeling.”

Following their performance FDC Soldiers went into the crowds to meet the audience and performed for smaller groups.

“I really enjoyed meeting the performers,” said Sharon McCleskey, an Alexandria, Virginia resident. “They were all so nice and very talented. I am a retired music teacher so I have a real appreciation for their craft.”

During the grand finale fireworks display, Soldiers from the Presidential Salute Battery (PSB) provided cannon support. The fireworks display also included a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture performed by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.

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.

“Hearing the orchestra play with the cannons shooting almost made me cry,” said Joanna Carey, an Alexandria, Virginia resident. “The cannons fired at the precise moments as the orchestra was playing and it was just so powerful. And then the fireworks at the end really just made this a special moment to remember.”

The event was a success, according Carey and others in attendance.

“This was a great time,” said Carey. “We just recently moved to the area from Charlottesville, [Virginia]. This was a great way get to know more about our new area. I can already tell that this is going to be a great area for us to settle into for a while.”

“This is our third year coming out to this event and it never disappoints,” said Tiffany Rogers, an Alexandria, Virginia resident and mother of three. “It is just a good, positive vibe out here. Everyone is here to just celebrate and have a good time with people in our community.”

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