Segments in this Video

Military Honor Guards (03:41)


Many symbols of the American military are ceremonial. The honor guards of the Navy, Marines, and Air Force carry on traditions.

Drilling (05:58)

Drilling is an important part of discipline within the military. The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon has 24 members and is known for being the tightest drill unit. Drilling dates back to the Roman Empire.

Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon (06:18)

Assigned to Marine Barracks, Washington D.C., the unit was founded in 1948. It became a part of public military parades in 1957. The unit frequently practices to ensure perfection.

Drill Routine (04:04)

The Silent Drill Platoon's routine changes each year. The meat grinder is the most difficult move with rifles with bayonets spinning between lines of Marines. The rifle inspector picks out members for individual spin routines.

Colors (06:33)

The six Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima became an enduring image of World War II. Flags, or colors, are an important part of military ceremonies. Colors represent the sacrifice of previous generations.

Color Guard Units (03:25)

Colors stopped being used on the battlefield in World War I. The colors carried by each unit vary depending on regiment, battalions, and military campaign.

Old Guard (03:50)

In 1963, the Third United States Infantry was part of the full military honors funeral for President John F. Kennedy. The casket was carried on an artillery caisson, which dates back to the Civil War. Horses pulled the caisson, followed by a rider-less horse.

Old Guard Traditions (02:43)

The oldest active-duty unit has many traditions that date back to the Mexican-American War. They have distinct uniforms and march with fixed bayonets. The Old Guard takes part in approximately 16 ceremonies per day.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (08:05)

The Old Guard stands vigil at the tomb. Members volunteer to be a part of the 24-hour guard. They have seven months of training before they can do a walk.

Air Force Honor Guard (04:10)

The unit honors fallen soldiers with a three-volley salute. The Honor Guard takes part in funerals at Arlington Cemetery and ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is the youngest honor guard, having started in 1948.

Honor Guard T-Flight (06:16)

Members of the Air Force Honor Guard must complete an intense training course. Perfection is key because they will represent the Air Force at military funerals, parades, and national events.

Military Music (06:13)

Musical instruments have been used on the battlefield for intimidation and tactical purposes. Drums have been used for communication; bands lift spirits.

Marine Corps Bands (04:59)

Military music now serves a ceremonial and patriotic purpose. The President's Own United States Marine Band began in 1798 and still plays for presidents at the White House. The Drum and Bugle Corps was added in 1934.

John Phillip Sousa (03:50)

Sousa was appointed director of the Marine Band in 1880. He transformed the band, expanded its musical library, and changed the nature of military music.

Marine Band Members (06:44)

The band employs 144 members, but the largest group that plays together is 100. Musicians audition for the band when spots are available, and then enlist with the Marines. The Drum Major is responsible for the military aspects of the band.

Naval Honor Guard (07:30)

The honor guard has served as the ceremonial unit for the United States Navy since 1931. Their canon salute dates back to the 18th Century. Lt. Lisa Trouesdale was the first female honor guard commander.

"Taps" (03:52)

The ceremonial units' focus is on honoring fallen soldiers and representing American freedom. "Taps" went through various changes before it became the song played on a bugle or trumpet at military funerals.

Joint Ceremonies (06:32)

Throughout the year, honor guards from each branch of the military have joint ceremonies. They carry on the traditions of the American military and honor its history.

Credits: Honor and Glory: America's Military Honor Guards (00:52)

Credits: Honor and Glory: America's Military Honor Guards

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Honor and Glory: America's Military Honor Guards

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A flag-waving salute to America's honor guards, drill teams, and military bands. This two-hour special looks at the training and performances of the Navy Ceremonial Rifle Firing Detail, the Marine Band, the Air Force Honor Guard and Drill Team.

Length: 96 minutes

Item#: BVL279874

Copyright date: ©1996

Closed Captioned

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