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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


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