I recently attended a Kansas City Chiefs football game at
Arrowhead Stadium. It was their annual Veteran's day salute
so members of all the services were asked to participate in the
festivities. A color guard for the National Anthem was provided
by the Buffalo Soldiers Association. They looked very sharp in
their 1800s era U.S. Army Cavalry uniforms. Following that the
U.S. Navy parachute team put on an impressive display that brought
great cheers from the 78,000 football fans in attendance. Shortly
after that we were treated to the truly awesome sight of an Air
Force B-2 Stealth bomber flyover as well as a few other aircraft.
All of these sights were truly appreciated by the crowd (especially
the B-2) who let it be known by their cheers. I expected that
was all that we would see of the military that day.
I thought we would see a high school or college marching
band during halftime. Few watch these shows anyway because they
have to use the head or grab another beer (or two) during the
Shortly before half time, however, I looked down on the
sidelines near the end zone and saw the Silent Drill Platoon
forming up. As the halftime started the players left the field
and the announcer came on the public address system and advised
us of the Platoon's performance. Many of us Marines have seen
these performances in the past and they are always awe-inspiring.
I did not expect that the large "civilian" crowd of football
fans would be as appreciative of the Silent Drill Platoon as
they had been of the high-tech B-2, or the daring of the Navy
parachute team. I however was on the edge of my seat. As the
Platoon marched onto the field it was very noticeable
that the crowd was growing quieter. Soon the Platoon was fully
into their demonstration and the stadium was silent. From
high in the stands upper reaches where my seats were I was able
to hear the "snap and pop" of hand striking rifle. Both big
screen scoreboards displayed close ups of the Marines as they
went through their routine. As they completed their platoon
demonstration and lined up for the inspection the crowd began
cheering as the Marines twirled their rifles in impossible fashion.
Then came the inspection. Again the crowd fell silent and watched
intently as rifles were thrown, caught, twirled, inspected,
and thrown some more. Each well practiced feat brought a "wow"
or "did you see that?" from those sitting behind me or next
to me. I sat there in my silent pride as I watched my brother
Marines exit the field.
A young girl behind me asked her mother a question about
how the Marines learn to do the things they just did. The mother
replied "They practice long and hard and they're Marines, so
they're the best".