Anthony Atwood’s Inauguration Journal – Day 10
SUNDAY 11 – JAN09: Reveille Reveille: 0300. We are underway early this Sunday morning for a dry run in advance of the big parade. We report to the office and scatter on foot and in vans all over town to our assigned places. Mine is across the river at the Pentagon. There is a full moon overhead crossing the river. My duty station for the exercise is in the Pentagon parking lot, which is where the parade units will stage. A trailer has been pre-positioned there and that is a good thing as the dawn is nippy.
Early on I-Day, one hundred and one charter buses (don’t quote me on numbers) will converge on this parking lot bringing the various marching units for the parade. These groups are from across the country. Many are military, but many more are civilian participants, such as high school bands that have been invited. Because it is a large parade it is grouped into six divisions. The parking lot is spacious.
I-Day the bridges across the river will be closed to regular traffic. Once a parade division of buses has collected, they will depart the parking lot with police escort to the assembly area at the start of the parade. That would be the White House Ellipse (the big back yard), where the marchers will disembark from their buses, fall in, and step off. The route of the parade is such that it will bring them back to the same place. BTW, there is a host of information about it readily available, see it by clicking here.
This morning many of the local units have come in their buses and are there for the dry run. There are four busloads of Navy cadets from Annapolis. Go Navy! Our team huddles in the trailer for radio checks and to go over the plan. On I-Day it is expected that media will be on hand to report on their hometown marching units. I’ve heard a high school band from Broward County is in the line-up. Our team at the Capitol passes the word that some-350 media outlets have gathered there to cover this daybreak walk-through. That is a great amount of interest.
In the trailer the Army Major on our team is sitting on a folding chair framed in the window as we go over things. Over his shoulder in the distance the beautiful Washington Monument can clearly be seen rising above the trees, standing tall in the dawn.