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When I need a break from the outrage of the day, I look for something out of the ordinary.
The Lone Piper is a Scottish tradition that began with the clan chieftains that took their piper with them to battles and then the Highland regiments that came later. The United States Air Force has a lone piper.
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md., –The keening, melancholic sounds of a bagpipe are carried through the wind of the Potomac River at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, District of Columbia.
Gold tassels of the bagpipes tangle in the strong breeze, a man in a U.S. Air Force Airman battle uniform slowly paces the grassy riverbank, the water gently lapping at the rocks. In the distance across the river, the skyline of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia can be seen.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind sound,” said Tech. Sgt. Adam Tianello, U.S. Air Force Band Ceremonial Brass Band bagpiper. “A griping sound of enticing melodies on top an ever-constant soothing drone. It’s a sound no other instrument has.”
Tianello’s role as the Air Force’s bagpiper is a solitary one as he is the only one with the official job title.
He added that there are bagpipers in different units and branches but none in the official capacity that he has.
Tianello explained his role in the Ceremonial Brass band is to honor the veterans of the Air Force at Arlington National Cemetery and to be there for their families and friends attending the funeral.
“By far it’s the most inspirational thing that I do,” added Tianello.
Pipe bands in the American military formed after World War II, after military personnel witnessed the pipes and drums of the British and Commonwealth forces.
Although most Americans are familiar with hearing Amazing Grace from a piper Going Home is more commonly heard at military and civilian funerals in Scotland.
An interview with a lone piper for Queen Elizabeth, a soldier that served two tours in Afghanistan.