Tuesday, January 20, 2009

32 Years Ago

This is a virtual copy past from this post four years ago. It has been edited for timeliness:


Today is inauguration day. Over 46% of the country will not be doing back flips or backslapping today. Their guy lost. The inaugural event may be likened to the Super Bowl. If your team is in the big game, you are tuned in closely to enjoy the event and relish in the spoils of the victor. If you are on the outside looking in, you may have a keen interest in the festivities, but probably won't be glued to the TV, hanging on every word throughout the day. This year howevrer, may break that mold, for reason that have been repeated for months.

I have a somewhat different perspective. I've been there. I have been in DC during an inaugural week and was engulfed in the moment of leadership transition. My experience was similar to what the Fergus Falls Marching Band is experiencing, and I am sure they are having a blast.

Soon after Jimmy Carter's victory in 1976, an all out lobbying effort ensured by various musical organization seeking to be selected by the governor to represent the State in the inaugural parade. As a member of the Anoka High School marching band, we felt our chances were pretty good. Three time Minnesota State Fair champs, 3 time Tri State champions, and coming off our Victory over Buffalo Grove IL for the Manisphere title in Winnipeg Canada during the Summer of 1976. These laurels did not go unnoticed, and we were the pick.

The trip was fantastic, aside from the 24+ hour bus ride. Our schedule was tight and structured, but still included many of the important venues that DC has to offer. Here is a picture of a 16 year old Flash, presenting the city to the viewer.

The morning of the parade was an early one. Security was pretty tight even back then. All the busses carrying the various musical groups had a specific route to take, and were required to be in their parade order. What a logistical nightmare for the organizer, but as a participant, I was none the wiser. We were going to be playing for the President, and there wasn't much that was going to hinder us from completing that mission. Here is a shot of those busses lined up:

The parade went off without a hitch. It was chilly. We had a 'special' valve oil mixture, including a few drops of antifreeze to prevent our horns from locking up. The parade moved at a quick clip, almost to the point we were running. We didn't have any time to play during the parade route itself, but of course, performed the Minnesota Rouser, along with Johnny Comes Marching Home for the dignitaries in the box. I tried straining my eyes to see the new President and Vice President, but the rules were the same then as they are now. No stopping, no looking, no nothing directed at the President's box.

We left the next day, with our heads full of memories, and an honor not many have experienced. I even managed to get a little sleep on the way home:

So I honor and respect President Elect Obama and his supporters today. Enjoy the moment before you roll up the sleeves. Just because I relish in victory doesn't mean I will roll over and play dead. It is the job of the winner, to carry out their platform, and the duty of the opposition, to keep us all in check!


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