WASHINGTON-- Marines of the “Oldest Post of the Corps” performed their final parade of the summer season during the Friday Evening Parade at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Aug. 26, 2016. With the highest number of guests anticipated, it would make for a record-setting event of the season.
Friday Evening Parades at the Barracks began over a half a century ago with the kick-off of the Post’s first parade July 5, 1957, drawing a crowd of over 3,000 spectators. The parades have become an annual summer tradition ever since.
The 2016 summer parade season commenced at end of April and left its mark on the thousands of guests in attendance over the months leading up to this season-closing event. Throughout the summer, the Barracks Marines performed at 28 Sunset and Evening Parades, a feat that required hundreds of hours of training.
Two days of each summer week are dedicated to these events. Tuesday Sunset Parades are performed at the hallowed grounds of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery Va., and Evening Parades are showcased Fridays at the historic Marine Barracks.
The Marines practice diligently year-round to polish their skills in anticipation for the prestigious, large-scale performances. In attendance are often high ranking military and government officials, as well as visiting veterans, foreign audiences and the general public.
This final parade kicked-off with remarks from the guest of honor, the Honorable Ashton B. Carter, Secretary of Defense, during the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ official reception.
“You’ll see out there tonight the finest fighting force the world has ever known. Take a moment while you’re looking at them and think about what all the others are doing around the world to protect our people. That’s what this stands for and that’s what it is all about,” stated Carter.
The performance featured sequences from “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band, “The Commandant’s Own” U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and Ceremonial Marchers.
Nearly 5,300 guests were in attendance, making it this season’s most attended parade.
The Marines’ performance was nothing short of perfection.
“Sometimes people question the commitment of our youth and the future of this country, but every time I see this, it ensures me that we’re in really good shape,” said Gen. Robert B. Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps.
Now that the season has drawn to a close, the Barracks’ Marines will continue to hone and refine their skills around the clock as a part of America’s force in readiness.
“This has been an absolutely incredible experience,” said Maj. Paul Steketee, parade commander for two seasons. “It has been my honor to march alongside these Marines, call commands and to lead the Marines throughout [the parade seasons].”