Trump’s inauguration focusing on ‘harmony of America’ with local law enforcement, military units

Trump’s inauguration focusing on ‘harmony of America’ with local law enforcement, military units

Left – Members of California’s Merced County Sheriff’s Posse stand in front of the Merced Courthouse Museum. The Sheriff’s Posse will represent the state and Merced County in the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. Right – Posse members Paul Danbom and Adam Azevedo ride in a local Fourth of July parade. (Photos by Taryn Danbom)

By Tracy Fuga

Anticipation is mounting with the inauguration of the 45th president merely days away. Organizations from across the nation are tying up loose ends while gearing up to welcome President-elect Donald Trump into the country’s highest office Jan. 20 with a parade composed of 8,000 marchers from about 40 organizations, including all branches of the military, veterans groups and law enforcement, and high school and college marching bands. 

“People from every corner of the country have expressed great interest in President-elect Trump’s inauguration and look forward to continuing a salute to our republic that spans more than two centuries,” said Sara Armstrong, chief executive of the presidential inauguration committee.

The parade tradition, which began in 1873 with the inauguration of President Ulysses S. Grant, has historically served as a way for incoming presidents to make a statement, according to the White House Historical Association. President Abraham Lincoln, for example, invited blacks to march for the first time during his procession.

During his first inauguration, President Barack Obama paid homage to Lincoln with the theme of “A New Birth of Freedom,” a phrase taken from the Gettysburg Address. For the first time in history, Obama also opened the full length of the National Mall for full public viewing of the swearing-in ceremony. 

Trump’s inauguration chairman, Tom Barrack, said that his theme will carry over the campaign message that elected him: Make America Great Again.

“The theme is very simple,” Barrack said. “The idea is to have a cross-cut of harmony of America and normal Americans that reflects on them, not on the power and prestige of this man.”

The majority of the local groups chosen to perform at Trump’s inaugural parade come from counties the president-elect won. It’s unclear if the president-elect’s inaugural committee intentionally included more Trump supporters, or if there was a greater interest in performing from pro-Trump areas of the country.

From California, Merced County Sheriff’s Posse leader and county Sheriff Vern Warnke said his group’s decision to take part in the festivities wasn’t fueled by politics and wasn’t funded by the state.

“We submitted our application and dossier a few months before the election was decided,” said Warnke, a 38-year veteran with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department. “I reminded the posse (while deciding if we should apply) that this group is nonpolitical, so if we’re going, we’re going no matter who wins.”

The parade will spotlight horse-mounted members of several units — including the Merced County Sheriff’s Posse, who have been at three previous inaugurations and will bring 14 horses to the ceremony — and the Caisson platoon out of Fort Myer, Virginia, responsible for the carriage-drawn funeral ceremonies in Arlington National Cemetery.

“It’s a fabulous honor,” said Warnke who is going to his first inauguration. “We’re representing California, the Central Valley and Merced County. We’re excited and honored. We’re going to be on the world stage by doing this.”

Police marching bands from Florida, Indiana and Michigan will take part as well as the pipe and drum corps from the U.S. Border Patrol.

High school bands from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Arkansas will participate along with university musical groups from Alabama, Tennessee and Texas. Schools with a long military tradition will also march in the parade including Indiana’s Culver Academy, Virginia’s Fishburne Military Academy, The Citadel in South Carolina and also cadets from the Virginia Military Institute.

According to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the list of participants include:

1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment — Fort Hood, Texas

1st Infantry Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard — Fort Riley, Kansas

Boone County Elite 4-H Equestrian Drill Team — Burlington, Kentucky

Caisson Platoon, Fort Myer — Fort Myer, Virginia

Cleveland Police Mounted Unit — Cleveland

Coastal Florida Police & Fire Pipes & Drums — Palm Coast, Florida

Columbus North High School Band — Columbus, Indiana

Culver Academy Equestrian — Culver, Indiana

First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry — Philadelphia

Fishburne Military School Army JROTC Caissons Battalion — Fishburne, Virginia

Frankfort High School Band — Ridgeley, West Virginia

Franklin Regional High School Panther Marching Band — Murrysville, Pennsylvania

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Motorcycle Drill Team — Indianapolis

Kids Overseas — Richmond Hill, Georgia

Lil’ Wranglers — College Station, Texas

Marist College Band — Poughkeepsie, New York

Merced County Sheriff’s Posse — Hilmar, California

Michigan Multi-Jurisdictional Mounted Police Drill Team and Color Guard — Ann Arbor, Michigan

Mid-America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team — New Buffalo, Michigan

Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums — East Meadow, New York

North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association — Hillsborough, North Carolina

New York Police Department Emerald Society Pipes & Drums — East Moriches, New York

Olivet Nazarene University — Bourbonnais, Illinois

Palmetto Ridge High School Band — Naples, Florida

Russellville High School Band — Russellville, Arkansas

Talladega College Band — Talladega, Alabama

Texas State University Strutters — San Marcos, Texas

The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes and Summerall Guards — Charleston, South Carolina

The Freedom Riders — Kersey, Colorado

Tragedy Assistance Marching Unit — Arlington, Virginia

Tupelo High School Band — Tupelo, Mississippi

University of Tennessee Marching Band — Knoxville, Tennessee

Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets — Lexington, Virginia

West Monroe High School Marching Band — West Monroe, Louisiana

American Veterans

Boy Scouts of America

Disabled American Veterans

U.S. Border Patrol Pipes and Drums

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations

Wounded Warriors

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