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."