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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

American History

This year, I spent my mid/late January a little differently than I typically do. For the past several years of my life, I've made one or two trips to Atlanta around this time: One is for MLK weekend to retrace the footsteps of Black history and American history (a trip that has been an annual program at UNCG) and the other is for the Honda Battle of the Bands to see excellence in the art of marching. This year neither of those took place, yet I found myself traveling about the same distance north instead of south to Washington, DC. Once again for Black history and American history and to see excellence in the art of marching. I attended the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

My full account of the trip is found here in my personal LiveJournal, but given this is my sports/marching blog, I'll concentrate on the marching aspect. In addition to the historic inauguration of a Black president and a Delawarean VP, my primary motivation for making the trip to DC and braving the crowds was the parade. My alma mater, The Alexis I. duPont High School Tiger Marching Band, was making their third inaugural appearance (they also marched for Carter and George H.W. Bush). Beyond that, there was an amazing lineup: FAMU's Marching 100, Ohio State's TBDBITL, and The Cadets, to name a few.

I was fortunate in that my interests were a little different than the bulk of the crowd. After waiting for hours to get onto the parade route, I was probably about 10 people back from the barricades at the road. Not a bad draw, even better if you're closer to 6'5" than 5'6". Then, a funny thing happened. For those not familiar with the inaugural parade format, the president and vice president lead the parade, and then there's motorcade/filler while they make their way to their viewing stand, from which they watch the rest of the parade. Well President Obama passed, and then about half the crowd left. I was maybe 3 folks back by the time Vice President Joe Biden passed (I could see him quite clearly, but then, me and Joe go way back.) After Biden passed, we were probably down to about 10% of the original crowd, and I was right up to the barricade for an excellent spot for the rest of the parade.

It was a great parade. Highlights include the sizable Delaware contingent, the abundance of HBCU bands, several other great college and high school bands, the Gay and Lesbian Band Association, and the two drum corps present, the Colts and Cadets. It was great to be present both for history and a helluva parade.
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