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Presidential Inaugural Parade

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link   All Posts
 Alexander Lloyd January 12

It has been a busy week here at the Academy, coming back from winter leave and moving rooms, going through the change of command ceremonies, and of course starting classes. While classes as well as homework have started again, I can honestly say I feel relieved to be back in full swing in the normal routine of the day. This semester appears as if it will fly by fast, with many dates and events to look forward to. We have a few long weekends in January and February, spring break is right around the corner in March, and we are that much closer to gaining our upperclassmen privileges toward the end of the semester. While the days of these winter months may be short, dreary, and a little cold for my taste, I am excited for my second semester here at the Academy. I know the end of fourth class year is near, and I can’t wait to find out where I am going to spend my third class summer.

January 22

It is January 22, 2009, one day after my return from marching in the Presidential Inaugural Parade for the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. After nearly two months of early morning once a week marching practices, I can honestly say that I have been rewarded with one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

The Inaugural Parade excursion began at 2200 (10 p.m.), when we left for an all night bus drive south to the Naval Academy. Upon our arrival at Annapolis, each of the 90 cadets chosen for the parade was placed in a room with Navy students of their respective class. It was great opportunity to compare our lives to those of the midshipmen. It is nice to know that there are other teenagers living the same rigid life of an Academy fourth class as I am.

Following a day of liberty to tour the town of Annapolis, we were up at 0200 (2 a.m.) the next morning to make the trek into Washington D.C. before the bridges were closed down. Accompanied by a police escort from Annapolis to D.C., we truly felt as if we were a part of something huge. While the next 12 hours were spent on the bus moving from staging area to staging area and through several security checkpoints, more and more anticipation was built up.

Finally, at nearly 1700 (5 p.m.), the Coast Guard Academy stepped off and the parade for us began. Within 20 minutes, I was cold and tired, but upon making the turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue, all of that disappeared. Hearing the crowds roar: “Go Coast Guard!” made me so proud of my school and service. As we approached the bright spotlight and the President’s viewing stand, I was overtaken by one of the most incredible feelings of my life.

By 1900 (7 p.m.), we were back on the bus and before I knew it, we were pulling into the Academy. Marching in the Inaugural Parade will undoubtedly be one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Just seven months ago, I graduated from high school a civilian, not knowing what incredible opportunities the United States Coast Guard Academy would have in store for me.

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