Citadel makes seventh presidential inaugural parade appearance
The 2017 Presidential Inaugural Parade represents the seventh time since 1953 that Citadel cadets have been selected to participate in this historic American tradition. The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes, the Summeral Guards, and the college’s color guard will participate in the parade on Jan. 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C., which directly follows the swearing in of President-elect Donald Trump.
“We are privileged to be representing The Citadel before the nation, and the world, as one of the many distinguished groups participating in the presidential inaugural parade. We don’t view this as political. To us, it represents another way to serve our nation,” said Cadet Devin Oliver, who is a Summerall Guard.
Approximately 150 cadets comprise the troop representing the college. The seven invitations to appear presidential inaugural parades occured in 1953, 1957, 1961, 1985, 1989, 2005, and 2017.
“It is no small accomplishment to be selected to participate in a presidential inaugural parade out of hundreds and hundreds of applicants,” said Maj. Steve Smith, Citadel TAC officer and historian. “The Regimental Band and Summerall Guards jointly represented The Citadel in the 1953 and 1985 inaugural parades; unfortunately, inclement weather forced the cancellation of President Reagan’s 1985 parade, the only one known to have been canceled.”
Smith said that as the band passed the reviewing stand in 1953 where the new President Dwight D. Eisenhower stood, they played the Gate City March by A. F. Weldon.
“My husband remembers it being extremely cold that day," said Patsy Hindman. Her husband, Col. Thomas Banks Hindman Jr., USA (retired), graduated with The Citadel Class of 1956. Their son and grandson also graduated from The Citadel. “Thomas says he remembers that when the band passed in front of the reviewing stand President Eisenhower stood up and gave the v for victory sign with both hands when he saw and heard the band.”
In recognition of their performance, the 1953 inaugural committee awarded The Citadel Regimental Band second place in the Adult Band category.
“That inaugural parade was the largest that had ever been held at that time with 73 bands, 59 floats, and civilian and military marching units. It lasted over four hours,” Smith said.
"Pictured above is the South Carolina contingent at the inauguration parade viewed by thousands in Washington. Following the South Carolina float is The Citadel band which won second prize in the bands division contest, and The Citadel Summerall Guard.” (AP wire photo)"
Jim Cherry, Citadel Class of 1961, was one of the cadets who marched in the inaugural parade for President John F. Kennedy. Cherry's wife Rosa, his girlfriend at the time, was also in Washington, D.C. for Kennedy’s inaugural events with a group of friends from her Winthrop University Class of 1960.
“There were uniforms all over town, with the service academies in the parade, plus active duty military folks,” Rosa Cherry said in an emailed statement. “I was teaching at a high school in Annapolis at the time after recently graduating from Winthrop. I was with several others from my graduating class, attending events as guests of South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond. We could not get out of Annapolis by car due to the snow so we rode a bus into D.C. It was so cold outside that we watched the parade and ceremony from Sen. Thurmond’s office on TV! Afterwards we met up with our Citadel guys.”
Cherry says her husband still keeps in close contact with his band classmates. “I’ve heard them say that it was so cold that day the bagpipes froze and they couldn’t toot.”
The 2017 performance in the presidential inaugural parade will be similar to the one in 1953 with regard to the formation that features the color guard, then the band, and then the Summerall Guards marching in line. However, the college did not have any African American or women cadets in 1953. In fact, in 2017 The Citadel is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first African American man to join the Corps, and 20th anniversary of the first woman to graduate from the Corps. And there is another milestone to note: Cadet Hunter Crawley is The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes' first woman drum major. The sophomore is responsible for leading the band in all performances.
The music will include an original arrangement by the Director of The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes, Col. Tim Smith, USMC (retired).
“It is a two minute piece featuring portions of Battle Cry Freedom, Battle Hymn of the Republic, and When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” said Smith, “written to enable the band and the pipe band to play together as a unit.”
The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes is world renown as the only U.S. military college band invited to represent the nation at the exclusive Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, appearing three times: 2015, 2010, and 1991.
Marching behind the band will be the Summerall Guards, a silent precision drill platoon that was formed at The Citadel 85 years ago. The platoon's purpose is to exemplify, through a unique series of movements, the exactness with which a cadet at The Citadel is trained.
“We work for three years to reach peak physical fitness and to perfect our drilling capabilities, then undergo a rigorous competition, in order to earn a place on the Summerall Guards,” said Cadet Oliver. “We know we must represent the 85-year-old tradition of the guards with excellence at the inaugural parade, and at all of our performances.”
To view photos, names and hometowns of cadets participating in the 2017 Presidential Inaugural Parade, visit The Citadel’s Facebook page photo album titled “2017 Presidential Inauguration Parade Participants:" or click here.
Video: Cadets departing for Washington D.C.
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