Air Force Honor Guard, Air Force Band shine in Canadian counterpart wreath-laying
By Master Sgt. Amaani Lyle, Air Force District of Washington Command Information
/ Published October 19, 2018
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va. -- Of Air Force District of Washington’s varied global missions and operations, the U.S. Air Force Band and Honor Guard offer perhaps the most visible articulation of the unit’s role in the service.
On Wednesday, the two ceremonial honors elements furnished finesse and music at the hallowed Tomb of the Unknown Soldier here, where Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein welcomed his counterpart, Royal Canadian Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Al Meinzinger, for a wreath-laying ceremony to honor the fallen and demonstrate a long-standing alliance with the neighboring nation.
Not only do the United States and Canada have the world's longest shared border at just over 5,500 miles, but the nations have developed significant interoperability and closely aligned foreign policies since the Cold War.
Arriving from National Defense Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Meinzinger and members of the Canadian Ceremonial Guard participated in the commemoration alongside AFDW elements at the quarried marble Tomb atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C.
Air Force bandsmen opened with both U.S. and Canadian national anthems in addition to “Taps” as the ceremony concluded.
For at least one Air Force Honor Guardsman, the ceremony was as personal as it was solemn. With just eight months on the job and a few missions under his belt including one featuring President Donald J. Trump, Airman Brandon McLemore said the honor of serving with the elite ensemble has enabled him to follow in family footsteps.
“My great-grandfather was [an Army] Honor Guardsman, so being in the Air Force and coming from the Army, I get to do something to respect not only my heritage, but also respect other families and people out here in Arlington,” McLemore said.
The U.S. Army began perpetual guarding of the Tomb since July 2, 1937, before the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment known as The Old Guard assumed the watch on April 6, 1948.