The Department of Defense dress rehearsal march began at 8 a.m. and ran along Pennsylvania Avenue. The parade featured members of the Army,Marine Corps,Navy and Air Force,including all four military bands.
Capt. Jamaal Smart,assembly area officer in charge,said officials are expecting about 9,000 people to march in the parade and several hundred thousand people to watch the inauguration and the parade Jan. 21 – which falls on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into. We didn’t know it was going to be to this scale,” Smart said. “Honestly,it is an honor to be selected for this task. We’re all geared up and want to make it the best show that we can possibly give.”
This year’s inauguration is the first Petty Officer Adam Nesbitt will attend. Along with fellow Coast Guardsmen,he woke up at 2 a.m. Sunday to attend the dress rehearsal.
“Today was long and cold,but it was not bad.” Nesbitt said. “I think this is the first time for most of us. We’re all tired,but I’m sure Inauguration Day will be good.
Smart said several hundred thousand dollars are expected to be spent on the parade.
In addition to the military bands and units,60 other bands or groups have been chosen to march,including the Utah Hispanic Dance Alliance,Native American Women Warriors,NASA,Gym Dandies Children’s Circus,Firefighters of Idaho and Canine Companions for Independence.
Several marching bands from high schools and universities throughout the U.S. have accepted invitations to participate in the parade. Students will march alongside military bands,including the Air Force band,band manager Master Sgt. Craig Ledoux said.
“I’m so very proud to be part of this day,to be part of the Air Force Band and to be able to represent my service for the inauguration of President Obama,” Ledoux said.
Reach reporter Jasmine Aguilera at [email protected] or 202-326-9866. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.