2019 Virginia International Tattoo to Salute Women in the Military

Dr. Margarethe Cammermeyer, Colonel, USA Ret. will be a featured participant at Friday's leadership forum.

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Photo courtesy of Virginia Arts Festival.

With an extraordinary cast of hundreds of performers from eight nations, the centerpiece of the 2019 Virginia International Tattoo will be a moving Salute to Women in the Military April 25 – 28 at Scope Arena in Downtown Norfolk. Through music, historic photos and video, tributes from military bands, and special appearances by groundbreaking women, including LGBTQ icon, Dr. Margarethe Cammermeyer, Colonel, USA Ret. This year’s Tattoo will tell remarkable stories that inspire us to celebrate the courage of those who serve in uniform today, and all those who came before them.

2019 Theme: Courage & Commitment – A Salute to Women in the Military

Only one hundred years ago, women did not have the right to vote and still, over 20,000 served in uniform during the First World War. Today, one sixth of all Active-Duty service members are women. These 230,000+ women serve in every branch in virtually every capacity. The Virginia International Tattoo is honored to have many of these inspiring service women in Norfolk this April to perform and be celebrated as we tell their compelling stories of bravery and triumph. 

As we salute the service women who broke barriers, Dr. Condoleezza Rice will narrate this year’s Finale; a similar role held by Colin Powell at the 2016 Virginia International Tattoo. Dr. Rice was the first woman to serve as National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush, and the first African-American woman to become Secretary of State. During her time in public service, she was particularly active in peace proceedings in the Middle East. 

Courage, Commitment, and Leadership Forum 

Extraordinary Women of the U.S. Military – In Their Own Words

When: Friday, April 26, 2019; 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM, Scope Arena. This event is free and open to the public and attendees are encouraged to reserve tickets HERE. Participants include*:

  • General Lori Robinson, USAF Ret., first female commander of a Unified Combatant Command 
  • Dr. Margarethe Cammermeyer, Colonel, USA Ret., challenged Army on ban on homosexuals serving in the military and won, resulting in equality for the LGBTQ community in the Armed Forces
  • Diane Carlson Evans, RN, Captain, USA Nurse Corps, Vietnam Veteran, Founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial 
  • Colonel Jane Carson, USA Nurse Corps, Vietnam Veteran, First Active Duty Chief Nurse of the Army National Guard 
  • Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, USN Ret., first female Director of Surface Warfare, Special Assistant to Virginia’s Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection 
  • Lieutenant General Frances Wilson, USMC Ret., Former President of the National Defense University 
  • Matice Wright, USN Veteran, first female African-American naval flight officer, appointed a White House Fellow and to the United States Naval Academy Board of Visitors 
  • Captain Lauran Glover, USA, first female commander of the U.S. Army Drill Team, 4th Battalion, 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) 

In addition to the women listed above, groundbreaking women who will be present at the Tattoo this year include:

  • Representative Elaine Luria, 2nd District of Virginia, served as a United States Navy officer for 20 years, operating nuclear reactors as an engineer, reaching the rank of Commander. She was the first female American sailor to spend her entire career on combat ships. Luria graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1997, with a degree in physics and history, and a minor in French. 
  • MU3 Danlie Cuenca, a powerhouse vocalist performs this year at the Tattoo. Born in the Philippines, Cuenca moved to Norfolk in 2003 and was very involved in NJROTC. She performed previously in the Virginia International Tattoo with the Norfolk Public Schools Choir and now travels and performs all over country with the U.S. Navy Band. 
  • LT General Christine Whitecross, Commander of Military Personnel Command of the Royal Canadian Air Force. In 2017, she became commandant of the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy, elected by representatives of the 28 NATO member nations. She is the first woman and the third Canadian to hold this position. 
  • Captain Sandra Ansanay-Alex, joining the cast after performing in the Tattoo as a member of the French Band in 2013. Today, Captain Ansanay-Alex is Conductor for Musique des Transmissions and serves as the first female conductor in the history of the French Military. 

This year’s Virginia International Tattoo is presented in cooperation with Women In Military Service For America Memorial (WIMSA). 

 Presented annually as part of the Virginia Arts Festival, the term Tattoo evolved from a European tradition dating back to the 17th century when Low Country innkeepers would cry “Doe den tap toe!” – “Turn off the taps!” as the fifes and drums of the local regiment signaled a return to quarters. 

The Tattoos seen across the world today refers to a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands. Each Tattoo is influenced by the culture of the country they represent. Fans of these massed spectacles of music and might flock to the world’s great Tattoos: the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland, the Basel Tattoo in Switzerland, and the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in Canada. But the greatest Tattoo in the United States, and rivaling the largest in the world, is the Virginia International Tattoo

Each year’s Tattoo is different, from the participating countries to new themes of honor and patriotism. For the very first time, the always-exhilarating U.S. Marine Corps Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) Company will include male and female Marines as they sprint, jump, and climb their way through the obstacle race. The Jordanian Armed Forces Combined Pipe Band returns featuring a distinctive co-ed performance, while the 30th Guard Brigade Drill Team from Romania and the Royal Canadian Air Force Pipes and Drums will make their Tattoo debuts. In a unique twist, the French Army Band Musique des Transmissions Prise d’Armes will feature their Rugby Team XV du Pacifique to perform their “Haka,” a traditional pre-match ritual. 

Attending the Virginia International Tattoo 

The Virginia International Tattoo will take place Thursday April 25-27 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, April 28 at 2:30 p.m. For tickets and other information, visit Virginia Arts Fest or call (757) 282-2822

The NorVA