On Monday, the recently re-elected President of the United States will take the public oath of office marking the 57th formal presidential inaugural ceremony since 1789. Joining the ceremony is a contingent of more than 100 Sailors from NAS Patuxent River, part of the many military personnel participating in the event from each of the five armed services branches.
“There will be approximately 300 Sailors in the Navy cordon area both from Pax River and Navy Information Operations Command,” explained Air Traffic Control Senior Chief Joseph C. Stone. “We will line the street opposite each other and salute the president and vice president as they pass us by.”
The parade will come in the afternoon of a busy day that also includes morning worship services; the procession to the Capitol for the swearing-in ceremonies of Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama; the president’s inaugural address, a luncheon; and a number of formal balls that evening.
After the luncheon, both the president and vice president will make their way down Pennsylvania Avenue to the location of the presidential reviewing stand where they will enjoy the inaugural parade with their family and special guests as it marches west from the Capitol to the White House and passes in front of them.
Representing each of Pax River’s tenant commands, the participating E2 through E9 Sailors will be wearing their formal Dress Blue uniform and will be stationed along the parade route on Pennsylvania Avenue at 10th Street.
“We’ll maintain our positions until the completion of the parade,” Stone said. “It’s expected to last about two hours.”
When Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Eric Uhden first learned of the request for parade volunteers, he immediately responded.
“It’s a presidential inauguration and I wanted to play a small part in history,” he explained. “Decades down the line, I can say I was there. I’ll have a story to tell.”
Pax Sailors practiced in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 13 and will return in the early morning on Inauguration Day, lining up two hours prior to the start of the parade. They will be able to rotate between warming and feeding stations throughout the duration of the event, Stone said.
The largest inaugural parade with 73 bands, 50 floats, horses, elephants, and civilian and military vehicles, lasting four hours and 32 minutes, occurred in 1953 at Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first inauguration.
Today, the oversight and planning of the parade is organized by the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and the limit is set at 15,000 participants.
The 2013 Inauguration will be the seventh time the constitutionally mandated inauguration date of Jan. 20 has fallen on a Sunday. Because of this, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts will administer the official oath of office in a private ceremony on that date, while a symbolic second oath will be administered for the public event Monday.