Tattoo 2007 Heritage to Horizons: Commemorating 60 years of Air and Space Power

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps perform in uniforms patterned after Gen. George Washington's Continental Army. The group reenacted the custom of the Tattoo. U. S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps perform in uniforms patterned after Gen. George Washington's Continental Army. The group reenacted the custom of the Tattoo. U. S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

The Band of the United States Air Force Reserve Pipe Band performs traditional pipe music. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

The Band of the United States Air Force Reserve Pipe Band performs traditional pipe music. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Members of Fushu Daiko put on a performance that is visual as well as musical. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Members of Fushu Daiko put on a performance that is visual as well as musical. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard drill team show off their skill with behind the back tosses. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard drill team show off their skill with behind the back tosses. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Gov. Sonny Perdue and Maj. Gen. Tom Owen place a wreath to honor fallen heroes. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Gov. Sonny Perdue and Maj. Gen. Tom Owen place a wreath to honor fallen heroes. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Robins Air Force Base, Ga. -- The Robins 2007 Tattoo Ceremony may have taken on a different format than in past years, but the solemn ceremony still hit its mark recognizing and celebrating military tradition past and present - and with record-breaking attendance.

Orchestrated by a mixture of Robins military and civilians and with static displays of Robins aircraft presently fueling the fight as its backdrop, the Tattoo combined celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force, 100 years of aviation in Georgia and the Cherry Blossom Festival with a series of colorful and historic feature acts.

The two-hour ceremony was attended by an estimated 1,800 people and featured the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (the Old Guard) Fife and Drum Corps from Washington, D.C.; the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve's Bagpipe Band; the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve's Ceremonial Band and the Air Force Honor Guard drill team. The event also included an F-15 fly-by and a POW/MIA ceremony, including a 21-gun salute and playing of "Echo Taps."

In a press release statement, Staff Sgt. Ryan Miles, Tattoo Ceremony Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve liaison, said the Tattoo committee had a goal of bringing the Tattoo back to its Scottish roots.

"We're trying to get back to the more traditional definition of Tattoo, which is more ceremonial in nature, more musical performance-branded, and bring back that flair of Tattoo," he said.

Before show time Col. Robert A. Hopkins Jr., 2007 Robins Military Tattoo chairperson, said to look forward to a lot of excitement, but at the same time expect a celebration of the true meaning as a memorial service to the past, present and future military members and the words rang true. The 16-member U.S. Honor Guard Drill Team drew oohs and ahhs from the crowd as they skillfully executed precision moves, while the reverberating sounds of the Fushu Daiko Japanese Drum Corps brought even the smallest audience members to their feet to see the origin of the giant sound.

"It was a world class event," said Colonel Hopkins. "I want to thank the Cherry Blossom Festival, the 100th Year Anniversary of Georgia Aviation and especially the men and women at Robins Air Force Base for supporting an outstanding show celebrating 60 years of Air and Space Power: Heritage to Horizons 60th anniversary of the Air Force."

While the musical performances caught a lot of attention, the distinguished visitors in the audience representing wars past and present brought the true meaning of the ceremony to light - sacrifice.

The ceremony also included the setting of an empty table representing POW/MIAs, a wreath laying ceremony performed by Maj. Gen. Tom Owen, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander and Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, a twenty-one gun salute, a flag ceremony and a tribute of Amazing Grace.

"The ceremony was spectacular," said Neeka Linn Watkins, who works in the Robins Employment Office. "It was a real honor to be able to learn about the history and heritage of the Air Force while being entertained at the same time. I'm looking forward to attending again next year."

The military tradition of Tattoo stretches back to the 17th century, during the reign of King William III of Great Britain. English soldiers who served during a war in the Netherlands often spent their evenings in local taverns.

The Tattoo ceremony, most famously celebrated in Edinburgh, Scotland, since 1950, has been a Robins tradition since 1987.