Monday, January 19, 2009

Presidential Inauguration

Twelve years ago tomorrow I participated in the second inauguration President Bill Clinton. I had been stationed at Ft. McNair in Washington D.C. in September 1996, I was assigned to 'A' Company Third US Infantry regiment, The Old Guard. We were just one of many assigned to do the presidential cordon along the parade route. Members of all services were there and we were positioned in order, one army, one navy, one marine, one air force. I cannot remember if their were any members of the coast guard present, we generally forgot about them anyways(sorry Ahab).

We lined up at about 5:30 am, it was dark and cold as we marched into place. Blue dress uniform overcoats was the uniform, with a wool scarf and a campaign hat (think pilots hat for you non-military types). We were positioned every six feet, standing directly on the curb with our back to the sidewalk. The temperature was 22 degrees at noon. The most interesting part of the day was Dr. Ruth. Remember Dr. Ruth? Valiant Israeli sniper and resident sex-pert? She was standing behind me, she introduced herself, of course I didn't respond, and held a hot cup of coffee against my cold gloved hands. I never got to thank her, but I'm sure she knows.

We stood at parade rest for hours, patiently waiting for the Presidents motorcade to drive by. We anxiously awaited it, not for a glimpse of the President, but for the opportunity to move. You see, when I said we were standing at parade rest, I truly meant that we were not moving. Six hours in one position is enough to cause most people to collapse. Not us, we were the best, the elitist of all soldiers, soldiers in trusted with the protection of the President and the defense of Washington D.C.

Since the revolutionary war we had been performing our duty. Originally hand picked by General George Washington from each of the thirteen colonies to be his personal escort. The importance of this post was not lost to history. Every soldier in our unit knew the importance of his duty. Just as they knew that should the capitol city be invaded by any force, foreign or domestic, we would be the first to defend it. All romance aside, we were also the dog and pony show, the pretty boys with the impeccable uniforms and staunch discipline. We would do cross training with the Buckingham Palace guards, and at night try and determine who had the better discipline. However, I am off track, allow me to return to my point.

Six hours without moving, we marched off for lunch at noon(who says an army doesn't move on it's stomach?), Marched back in at one and the President came by about three. What is important about that day is not that I was there, it's that alot of people were there. Tomorrow, when looking at all the pomp and circumstance surrounding a man that was simply elected to an office buy a countries citizens. Remember the soldier that gave him that opportunity. I t does not matter whether it is the soldier standing watch over a lonely bit if Afghanny desert, or a soldier standing watch over a busy piece of DC sidewalk. They are the people who made all this possible. Think of them as we watch Barrack Hussein Obama take the oath of office and swear to uphold the constitution of the United States. Think of all the great things we have accomplished as Americans, and of all the great things that we will accomplish in the future.

God Bless America.

1 comment:

Jay G said...

Amen, and thank you for your service.

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