Color Guards, Then and Now
Flags are so important that militaries formed a detachment of soldiers whose sole duty it was to protect the regimental colors. Historically a prestigious honor, the colors were carried by younger officers and non-commissioned officers assigned to the protection of the flag.
Banners and flags have been used in battle for centuries. Trained regiments each followed a set of formations, sometimes accompanied by musicians, and holding the lines was a critical element to its success. Even in the heat of the battle with smoke, dust and confusion, it was the color guard that showed soldiers exactly where their regiment was, providing crucial information for a strong front line.
It was considered disgraceful to lose a regiment's flag and, consequently, its point of reference. Capturing the flag of your enemy was prioritized and succeeding was glorified. Following battles, regimental flags sometimes included battle honors or other representation from decisive outcomes.
Today, modern color guards are more ceremonial than practical. A color guard is now generally seen at military events, funerals, inaugurations, parades and other occasions as a combination of military drill, marching demonstration, and is often accompanied by a marching band. Even schools have color guards, some compete in interscholastic competitions with independent drum corps where choreography leads to hours of drill practice and hopes for including Color Guard in future Olympics.
If you're interested in forming your own color guard but you're not sure how, stop in to Elmer's Flag and Banner today. We can help outfit your color guard with the perfect stock and custom flags and marching accessories to help you get started.
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1332 NE Broadway Portland, OR 97232