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Air Force Band, Honor Guard perform in Memorial Day events across country

Memorial Day Parade

U.S. Air Force Honor Guardsmen march toward the Soldiers and Sailors Monument during the Indianapolis Power and Light 500 Festival Parade in Indianapolis, Ind., May 26, 2018. More than 300,000 people attended the IPL 500 to see floats, giant helium balloons, celebrities, award winning bands and racers competing in the 102nd Indy 500.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy)

Memorial Day Parade

Members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard march in the 2018 Chicago Memorial Day Parade, May 26, 2018. The parade followed a wreath-laying ceremony at Daley Plaza is held annually to honor fallen heroes and Gold Star family members who lost a loved one in the U.S. Military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Emma James)

Dress right dress

Airman 1st Class Daniel Smith, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard ceremonial guardsman, aligns himself in formation before marching in the Indianapolis 500 Parade in Indianapolis, In., May 26, 2018. The honor guard promotes the Air Force’s mission by showcasing attention to detail, excellence and discipline at public and military venues to recruit, retain and inspire Airmen.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy)

Memorial Day Parade

U.S. Air Force Honor Guardsmen wait in a bus before marching in the Indianapolis Power and Light 500 Festival Parade in Indianapolis, Ind., May 26, 2018. The honor guard participated in the IPL 500 to recruit, retain and inspire Airmen. More than 300,000 people attended the IPL 500 to see floats, giant helium balloons, celebrities, award-winning bands and drivers competing in the 102nd Indy 500.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy)

Memorial Day Parade

Paradegoers take photos as the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard marches past them at the 2018 Chicago Memorial Day Parade in Chicago, Ill., May 26, 2018. The honor guard joined dozens of military marching bands, veterans and apporoximately 6,000 junior ROTC cadets to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in active military service. (U.S. Air Force Photo by SrA Emma James)

Memorial Day Parade

U.S. Air Force Honor Guardsmen assemble M14 rifles before the 110th Lawrenceville Memorial Day Parade in Pittsburgh, Pa., May 28, 2018. The honor guard promotes the Air Force’s mission by showcasing attention to detail, excellence and discipline at public and military venues to recruit, retain and inspire Airmen.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy)

Memorial Day Parade

A U.S. Air Force Honor Guard color team leads more than 40 members of the honor guard parade element at the 2018 Chicago Memorial Day Parade in Chicago, Ill., May 26, 2018. The honor guard joined dozens of military marching bands, veterans and approximately 6,000 junior ROTC cadets to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in military service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Emma James)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --

"On Memorial Day," President Donald J. Trump said in his 2018 proclamation, "we pause in solemn gratitude to pay tribute to the brave patriots who laid down their lives defending peace and freedom while in service to our great Nation."

 

Paying tribute and honoring fallen service members is what the 11th Operations Group is all about. That's why they were in high demand over Memorial Day weekend.

   

More than 80 U.S. Air Force Honor Guard parade element members traveled west; about half went to Illinois for the 2018 Chicago Memorial Day Parade on May 26, while the other half went to Indiana for the Indianapolis Power and Light 500 Festival Parade, also May 26, and then continued to Pittsburgh for the Lawrenceville Memorial Day parade May 27.

 

“Every time we do a parade, and I hear the support of the crowd, it always reinvigorates me and reminds me of why we do this," said Senior Airman Amanda Skidmore, U.S. Air Force honor guardsman.

 

 

Meanwhile, the honor guard's Drill Team, along with Air Force Band's rock band "Max Impact," traveled to Miami for the two-day National Salute to America's Heroes Air and Sea Show.

 

And, much closer to home in Washington, D.C., the Air Force Symphony Orchestra performed in the National Memorial Day Choral Festival at the Kennedy Center, and the Air Force Band's Singing Sergeants performed at the National Memorial Day Concert on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The latter event aired live on PBS, and it's annually one of the highest-rated programs on public television.

 

Although the Miami shows were canceled due to weather -- and not counting the television audience -- 11th OG assets performed live for a total of nearly 500,000 people.

"As flight sergeant I'm extremely proud of the men and women of the USAF Honor Guard who marched with pride while performing over 200 weapon manuals during the Memorial Day weekend parades," said Tech. Sgt. Clark Twiss, 11th OG pallbearers NCO in charge. "They went out there and did what they do best which is represent all Airmen to the American public. We are all humbled to have had the opportunity to honor our fallen heroes."