Big role for the military in Obama’s second inauguration festivities

Members of the Army Band stand in front of the Presidential Reviewing Stand in front of the White House during a rehearsal Jan. 13, 2013. Members of the Army Band stand in front of the Presidential Reviewing Stand in front of the White House during a rehearsal Jan. 13, 2013. Charles Dharapak/AP

Plans for Obama’s second inaugural show ceremonial nods to the nation’s civil rights heritage and the growing visibility of Hispanic Americans. But no group will occupy more center-stage at the four-day event than the military.

At a press conference Wednesday, key planners described the special roles that military men and women will play for pageantry, security and their own enjoyment.

For Saturday night’s Kids’ Inaugural Concert at the Washington Convention Center, children of military families have been given half the tickets (the rest go to children of District of Columbia Public Schools). That event follows a National Day of Service on the Mall.

On Sunday, the Constitution's Inauguration Day, on which Obama will be sworn in privately at the White House by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, the First Family will attend a small ceremony for fallen military at Arlington Cemetery.

On Monday, President Obama will publicly take the oath of office, give his address and enjoy a bipartisan luncheon in the Capitol. He will then be greeted by a “pass and review” by Maj. Gen. Michael Liddington, commander of the Joint Task Force for the National Capital Region, along with a 380 troops, according to Army Col. Michelle L. Roberts. An escort of 2,300 military personnel -- including each service’s honor guard -- will accompany the two-to-three hour inaugural parade in the afternoon. They’ve been training for months, along with the Capital Police, the Metropolitan Police, the Secret Service and other public safety agencies.

Parade participants will prepare at the Pentagon, and another cordon of 1,500 service members will follow the route as ushers and assistants. The total 10,000 participants-- including 58 vehicles and floats representing everything from the Virginia Military Institute to the Maine-based Gym Dandy unicyclists—will include divisions led by the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and a combination of Coast Guard and Merchant Marine.

On Monday night, one of the two official inaugural balls is the Commander-in-Chief’s Inaugural Ball, hosting primarily military guests and their families. That tradition was started under President George W. Bush.According to Brent Coburn, communications director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Obama’s 2013 version will be twice the size of previous ones.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.