Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Inauguration Memory

On January 20, 1973, I was a high school freshman, and I was in Washington DC to march with my high school band in the Inaugural Parade for the second term of Richard Nixon.

Two bands from each state were chosen for this parade and mine was honored to be chosen that year. I remember being told that the school paid ten thousand dollars to transport the band of 100 musicians, plus around 50 baton twirlers, flag carriers, etc and our equipment in five Greyhound buses and for meals and overnight accommodations. That's right, the school paid for every bit of it; no parents, rich, middling, or poor had to pay out of their pockets, so that every band member could go.

As well as marching in the parade, our trip included a trip to the Smithsonian, which was, unfortunately, far too brief to really get a good look at the place.

As I watched our new President, Barack Obama, get into his new, heavily-armored limousine for the parade, I could not help but contrast it with the limousine Richard Nixon rode in for the 1973 Inauguration parade. I remember seeing Nixon ride by in a limo that was little different from other limousines. The window was down and I caught a glimpse of him, his arm out the window waving to the crowd. Even though this was ten years after the assassination of John F Kennedy, security was still not yet at the level it would later take.

Have any of you attended an Inauguration in the past? Feel free to post memories in the comment section.


Roger Bell said...

I've been to Washington several times, either going to protest marches or for work. I've never attended an inauguration, however. I've mostly watched them on TV, but none compare to Obama's. IMHO, his is the most important inauguration of my life.

Anonymous said...

Times have really changed a lot. They presidents used to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue without cars around them. I was in Washington once and was able to walk into the gallery of the congressional chambers and listen to them. I don't think you can do that now. I got to go through the Smithsonian with my son, Chris. We saw a lot of it but of course it would take several days to really look at everything.

Rathna said...

I've never been to Washington,and never attended an inauguration too, I mostly watch them on TV only, I wish to see the inaugral function in real but I know its not that easy as before still hoping my wish comes true soon.