On January 19th, 2013, 90 cadets boarded a bus for Washington D.C. where they would be among the elite groups marching in honor of President Barack Obama's second Inauguration. Please select from the links below to learn more about the Coast Guard Academy's participation in the 2013 Inaugural Parade.
2/c Meredith Anderson
The following is an excerpt from an in-depth blog entry written by Meredith about her unique experience in D.C. at the Collegiate Presidential Inaugural Conference. Read the entire blog.
Roughly two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be permitted to attend the Collegiate Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington D.C. This was essentially a summit of college-level students who had excelled in some facet of academics and received a nomination to attend. From there, they were successfully selected and accepted the invitation to the conference.
From what I saw, there were almost a thousand people there. Their majors spanned from Art to Restaurant Management, from Engineering to Medical and from Political Science to Biology. The students themselves hailed from well over forty countries, and were all brimming with excitement at the opportunity to experience and take part in a major part of American history.
Of the people I met and interacted with, I was the only military academy student, so people were naturally curious. I spent a lot of time in the networking sessions explaining what I will do after I graduate, and even what I am doing now—until I graduate. And then there were the questions, and boy did I answer a multitude of them. The questions ranged from “What is the Coast Guard Academy?” to “Where does the Coast Guard operate?” and “What made you interested in being in the military?”
3/c Courtney Bailey
The Presidential Inauguration was an incredible event and an amazing opportunity. I had a terrific time marching in D.C. while listening to the announcer describe the amazing things the Coast Guard and the Academy accomplish. Furthermore, seeing President Obama and Admiral Papp as we passed in review truly filled me up with patriotic pride and re-validated my time in D.C. and even at the Academy.
Even though the parade was the highlight and point of the trip, most of our time was spent doing other activities. We spent time at the Naval Academy, in Annapolis, and with other cadets on the bus traveling or waiting for the parade. This time gave me the chance to speak with the older cadets about their classes, hopes for the future, and general philosophy of life. I gained insight into what my future classes and experiences may hold while also creating meaningful bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.
4/c James Boyce
When I received an email wondering if I would like to attend the Presidential Inauguration, I jumped at the opportunity. Putting aside political views, I wanted to see our President, Master and Chief of our mighty armed forces. I waited anxiously for a reply and finally got word that I was going. I was thrilled to be a part of such a momentous event.
The cadets that were chosen, approximately 90, left Saturday night and arrived at the United States Naval Academy the next morning. On Sunday we practiced at the Naval Academy and were then granted liberty to explore the beautiful city of Annapolis. I met up with a Navy midshipman who I haven’t seen since sixth grade. We caught up and I got to meet some other awesome midshipmen. Everyone recommended eating lunch at Chick and Ruth’s so after practice, I got a group together and we went down to tackle their 6 pound milkshake! Between four Coast Guard cadets and a Navy midshipman, we came close but could not deliver the final blow.
The next day we left for Washington D.C. at 0800. We stopped at the Coast Guard base in Alexandria to gather with the other Coast Guard marching elements. From there to the Pentagon we were escorted by unknown black SUVs. It was the coolest experience. After many hours of waiting and going through security stations, we finally stepped off marching around 1700. I got such a rush of adrenaline when the first speaker announced the Coast Guard. Around 1800 we marched past the Presidential Review Box with President Obama and Admiral Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard, standing up in the very front. The President saluted us back, we finished the parade, and made it back to the buses. Our buses pulled back into the Coast Guard Academy at 0430 Monday. This was a incredible experience that I will never forget.
3/c Luke Carani
I spent much of last week sleeping on an uncomfortable bus, standing around and waiting, practicing marching, getting cleared by security, waiting for the Inauguration Parade to start, and a lot more waiting. It’s safe to say that the theme of my weekend was waiting. In fact, much of my weekend was boring and uninteresting. However, in the single moment of marching past President Barack Obama, when the Regimental Commander called, “eyes left” and we saluted the President and saw him salute back, all of my gripes, complaints, and frustrations seemed to vanish. That single moment during our long march in the parade made the entire weekend worthwhile.
I know I speak for all 89 of my shipmates that marched in the parade when I say that regardless of political beliefs, having the opportunity to march in the Inauguration Parade to show support for our new Commander-in-Chief was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Even though it was dark by the time we started the parade, and most of the crowd had retreated to find warmer quarters, none of that mattered. Marching in that historic parade, and being a part of that once in a lifetime experience is something that will live with me for the rest of my life, and is something that I am honored to have been a part of.
4/c Lucy Daghir
Going to the Inauguration was a truly unique experience. The entire weekend was really fun. We left Saturday night and stayed overnight at the Naval Academy. I was able to see my family too because I am from that area. We even got to watch the Ravens game!
On Monday, we started with a police escort to D.C. It was so cool! The day of the Inauguration involved a lot of waiting and security checks but it was all worth it. We marched after 5 o’clock and the route was about 1.6 miles long. To march down Pennsylvania Avenue and to be a part of history and welcome our President back for another four years was mind blowing. Passing in review, I was hit with an overwhelming pride for my service and to be an American. I will always remember the thrill I felt marching in an event holding such significance to the American people. I can see now that anywhere in the world, a change of power conducted peacefully and by the people is not to be taken for granted. I will remember that day for my entire life, and I know that last year, I would never have guessed that I would have marched for the President and the United States of America.
4/c Kaitlin Dickson
Marching in the inauguration was an incredible experience that I will never forget and I highly recommend cadets to sign up and participate in events like these when offered. Training to be future officers in the United States Coast Guard, the public looks up to us and appreciates our service. I was proud to represent the Academy at the Inauguration alongside some of my best friends like Brandon Newman and Meghan Toomey (pictured). We marched over 1.5 miles around Washington, D.C. and although it was below freezing, it was well worth it! The most memorable part was when we marched past President Obama and Admiral Papp, both great leaders who I admire and am proud to serve under. Participating in the Inaugural Parade is truly a rare experience in one's life and I am glad I was able to be a part of it. It is moments like these when I know I made the right the decision in becoming a member of the United States Coast Guard.
1/c Summer Dupler
I have been at the Academy for three and a half years and everyday has brought on a new opportunity. On January 21st 2013, I was afforded the honor to march in the Inaugural Parade as a representative of the Coast Guard Academy. This was an opportunity that few cadets received, and I was lucky enough to be one of them.
The day was filled with anticipation. There were quite a few “hurry up and wait” moments that come with participating in such an in-depth and high security event. In the end it was well worth the wait. When we got to President Obama there was an enthralling feeling, being less than a football field’s length away. In those few moments that we got to honor the President and the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Papp, I knew that the time spent at the Academy and the future that I held in my hands was all worth it.
4/c James Engelhardt
This past weekend I had the honor of marching in the Inaugural Parade for President Barack Obama at the 57th Presidential Inauguration. Marching past the reviewing stand and meeting eyes with the President was an honor and a privilege that made all the sacrifices of the weekend worth it.
I had volunteered to march in the Inauguration in mid-November and found out that I was selected upon returning from Thanksgiving break. Immediately I had to take a picture and answer several screening questions for the Secret Service background check. As the Inauguration drew closer, I learned more of the itinerary and looked forward to the event more and more.
My fellow cadets and I boarded the buses for the Inauguration on Saturday, two days before the actual event. We drove through the night arriving in Annapolis, site of the United States Naval Academy, early Sunday morning. We were assigned to rooms with host midshipmen, who took us to breakfast and showed us around the “yard.” At 1100 the 90 cadets who made the trip formed up for a quick practice drill, after which we were granted liberty. All in attendance were anxious for the next day.
Monday arrived early as we boarded buses bound for Alexandria, Virginia. We were going to join a convoy with other enlisted and reserve Coasties and travel to D.C. together. The sight of the black SUVs, sirens blazing, escorting us to D.C. made quite an impression. We all arrived at the Pentagon around noon and went through more screening, before reaching D.C. about 1530 in the afternoon.
We waited anxiously for our turn to march, as various marching details went ahead. Finally our turn came. Marching down the streets of D.C. with all eyes on us gave me a sense of pride and purpose that is hard to explain. And when we marched in front of the President all of the trials of the day seemed to be insignificant. It was a great honor to march before the President, in a parade that symbolizes all our country is known for – freedom, liberty, and equality. Had I not come to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, I doubt I’d ever get that experience.
1/c Freddy Hofschneider
It's moments like these when I realize I could not have chosen a better path than being a member of the United States Coast Guard. When we finally marched down the official parade route and heard the cheers from the crowd, it hit me what I was doing was something that I could cherish for a lifetime. I am thankful and blessed to have been given the opportunity to participate in such a historic event. Born and raised on the island of Tinian, 8,000 miles away from the East Coast, I could never have pictured in my wildest dreams marching in front of the President of the United States and exchanging salutes. Although we spent most of the day going through security and anxiously waiting around, it was such an honor and privilege to be a part of the 57th Inaugural Parade in Washington D.C.
3/c Sean Murphy
Last weekend I marched in President Obama’s Inaugural Parade; it truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We drove down on busses on Saturday night to the Naval Academy and it was not a very comfortable night of sleep. At the Naval Academy the next morning, we practiced for the parade and had liberty for most of the day in Annapolis, which is a great city with plenty of things to see.
The following morning we were bused to Washington, D.C. We had a long day of security clearances, waiting at checkpoints, and dealing with the cold weather. It was an interesting process as we were herded from checkpoint to checkpoint in D.C. Finally after waiting all day, we made it to the National Mall, where, you guessed it, waited a little longer. When we finally started marching on the route to the President, it was starting to get dark.
As soon as we turned onto the main road, and the Coast Guard Academy was announced on the speakers in the city, all the waiting and inconveniences became worth it. I realized that I was helping represent the entire Coast Guard Academy and Coast Guard for the President of the United States. It was one of the proudest moments I have ever had. As we marched past the President, our Regimental Commander called “eyes left”, in which we all snapped our heads toward the President and received a salute from him. As we marched away, I heard a familiar voice scream, “Go Sean Murphy! Wooo! Go Eagles!” My two good friends from home, Marcus and Arianna, both came to the Inauguration and were able to spot me in the mass of cadets. It was really funny.
All in all, it was an awesome experience that I was able to share with my friends and will be able to share for the rest of my life.
4/c Emily Quallen
On Monday, January 21st, I had the honor of marching in President Obama’s second Inaugural Parade. When we were first given the opportunity to solicit for a spot in the formation, I was skeptical at best. Who actually gets the chance to participate in an event like that? And what are the odds of a freshman being selected to do so? As we lined up within sight of the Washington Monument, however, the honor and pride of the moment became a reality. Then as we stood waiting to step off among the other military academies and various representatives of the armed forces, it occurred to me: This is what it means to serve your country. Even if we weren’t out in the middle of some desert fending off terrorists, or patrolling the ocean for lost boaters, we were there in Washington representing the safety and protection of our nation. We were there to lend visual support to those in need of comfort. We were, and very much are, the United States Coast Guard.
1/c Catherine Schmitz
It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in history by marching in the Inauguration Parade. Not only were we a part of the parade, but to represent the U.S. Coast Guard and the Academy was an even greater honor. It was a surreal experience to be walking down Pennsylvania Avenue at sunset as the announcer drew attention to our unit, regarding us as, "the future Officer Corps of the United States Coast Guard". I was overcome with a sense of pride in my service and my Academy.
4/c Hailey Thompson
Partaking in the Inauguration Parade was a truly incredible experience. I felt very honored to be able to represent my service and the Academy in front of President Obama, and I was certainly thrilled to be in his presence. Not only was the parade itself a wonderful experience, but our time spent in Annapolis, Maryland at the Naval Academy was really enjoyable as well. We were able to spend time with USNA cadets and learn more about their academy life, as well as exploring the beautiful town of Annapolis on liberty. I am very grateful to have been given such an awesome opportunity!
2/c Emily Trudeau
As tough as it can be here, all the work and regimented schedules, the Academy is usually pretty good about offering opportunities to get outside the gates to represent the corps. Being involved with a varsity sport often makes attending these off-base adventures impossible. Fortunately for me, the late departure to Annapolis allowed me to compete at our last home track meet of the season, and march in the Inaugural Parade. Going to the Inaugural Parade was not a political statement, but being able to represent the organization I have grown to love and my vow to faithfully serve alongside all other men and women of the armed forces upon commissioning.
Staying the weekend at USNA was a treat! I was blown away by the incredible architecture and impressed with the hospitality and kindness of the midshipmen. I was excited to think that some day I may run into one of them out in the fleet on a joint service operation. The trip solidified in my mind the concept of being part of something bigger than oneself, you hear it all the time here – but marching in such a powerful celebration put it all into place.
3/c Cameo Ulbricht
There are not enough words to describe what an honor it was to march in the Inaugural Parade. Saying that it was a “great opportunity” will just not cut it in this case. I cannot simply tell you I marched in the Inaugural Parade. It was an honor representing the Academy, my family and community in such an event. I was one of 90 cadets who had the opportunity to pass about 50 feet in front of the President and our commandant, hopefully impressing them with our flawless formation. Hearing the random shouts from the crowd, “Thank you for your service” or “Yea!! Go Coast Guard Academy” just made me stand up taller. I was overjoyed to be marching for such a respected service. Hearing the announcer describe who we were brought a smile to my face, because I was SO PROUD! The long day of going from various security checkpoints and waiting for our turn to march was well worth it. I had the occasion to see things that my peers may never get the chance to see and be part of something that I will remember for the rest of my life. This weekend will be recorded as probably one of the best weekends at the Academy so far. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to take part in nationally recognized events such as this.