The Evening Parade is a marvelous display of planning and precision formations held weekly throughout the summer. This parade is held at Marine Barracks in Washington DC, which is the "Oldest Post of the Corps." Marine Barracks has been used for many events since the early 20th Century including Presidential inaugurations and other special celebrations. The formalized parades at Marine Barracks began as reveille drills and maorning muster parades.
As they formalized, the Barracks began to host seasons of regular parades, scheduled weekly. These began in 1934 and were conducted from 4 or 5:30pm on Mondays or Thursdays. Because of thier late-afternoon time frame, these parades were referred to as sunset parades. These weekly sunset parades were held through the summer and fall and would conclude on the anniversary of the Marine Corps of November 10th. The present-day Evening Parade was first conducted on July 5, 1957. They continue to be held every Friday evening at the Marine Barracks during the summer months.
The design of the Evening Parade was taken from the overall layout of the parade deck at Marine Barracks. The maple trees as well as hedges and shrubbery border the parade deck's sides and the north and south are faced by the Commandant's home and the Marine Corp Band Hall. This layout presents a symmetrical area that could be accented by the balanced movements of the performers. The founders of the Evening Parade sought a balanced performance which would accent the parade deck's old-fashioned setting.
Using the setting of the Marine Barracks, great leadership, and the Marines' flare for showmanship, the parades were to be a showcase for the ceremonial prowess of Marines and the musical eminence of the U.S. Marine Band, which had achieved international renown under the best military band leader of all time, John Philip Sousa.
The Evening Parade follows strict guidelines to prevent any fancy thatrics which were frequent in the early days of the parades. Since its inception, the Evening Parade has become a tradition at the Marine Barracks and the parade's heritage is entwined with former military rituals such as tattoo, retreat, and lowering of the colors ceremonies. The Evening Parade is offered solely to express the dignity and pride that represents more than two centuries of heritage for all Americans.
Click here to find out more history about the Marine Barracks located in Washington DC.
Click here for information on times and dates of the Evening Parade.
Visit the Sunset Parade or find more about the USMC.