“Courage and Commitment: A Salute to Women in the Military”

The Virginia Arts Festival, with the support of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, pulled off an amazing 2019 Virginia International Tattoo Festival with the theme: “Courage and Commitment: A Salute to Women in the Military.” The spectacular tribute to women in the armed forces was held April 25-28 at the Seven Venues Scope Arena in Norfolk. Smithfield Foods, Inc. was the American Evolution Presenting Partner.Every year, Virginia International Tattoo brings together performers from around the world for an inspiring celebration of freedom and international friendship. Each year’s theme is different, but this year, the 23rd season, was a special salute to the women who have contributed to Virginia’s 400 years of history.

The patriotic weekend featured music, historic photos and videos, tributes from U.S. military bands and special appearances by groundbreaking women that celebrated the extraordinary courage and commitment of the women who serve in uniform today and the women whose service blazed the trail before them.

“Our 3-year strategic partnership with the Virginia Arts Festival helps us explore this complex history through the commemoration’s themes of democracy, diversity and opportunity,” Kathy Spangler, Executive Director of American Evolution, said while she welcomed the crowd. “We are proud to be a presenting partner of this year’s Virginia International Tattoo celebrating women in the military and servicewomen from around the world.”

Spangler opened the shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Some of the courageous women who were recognized were Honorary Chairs include Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of State and the first woman to hold the position as the NationalSecurity Advisor; Congresswoman Elaine Luria, 2nd District of Virginia, first female sailor to spend her entire career on combat ships; and Matice Wright, U.S. Navy Veteran, first African-American female naval flight officer, White House Fellow, and appointee to the United States Naval Academy Board of Visitors.

The term “tattoo” refers to a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands. The event is the largest tattoo in the United States, drawing an audience of nearly 40,000 people each year. This year’s cast of performers from around the world included Switzerland’s Central Army Band, the Army Band of France, the OzScot Australia Highland Dancers and pipe and drum corps from the United Kingdom and Canada.

Before the Tattoo began on Saturday, Hullabaloo took place on the quad of the Scope. Along with other vendors such as Granby Bistro, Little Piggy’s Wurst Nightmare 2, the Virginian-Pilot and more, American Evolution set up shop and allowed attendees the chance to buy exclusive America: Made in Virginia merchandise. It was moved inside when people began entering the scope for the performances. American Evolution interactive kiosks were there as well, providing some extra fun for attendees.