After weeks of planning, hundreds of members of the U.S. Air Force Band and Honor Guard stationed in the Washington, D.C., area are set to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to play for President Barack Obama during the 2013 Inaugural parade.
“We’re ready and excited,” band conductor Col. Larry H. Lang told the NewsHour. “It’s a special day to be able to do the Inauguration.”
A fixture in the parade every four years, the band gives honors to their commander-in-chief as they march pass the the president and vice president, who watch the procession from the reviewing stand in front of the White House.
The band first performs four sets of drum rolls and trumpet blasts, known as “Ruffles and Flourishes,” and follows with its signature song, “Wild Blue Yonder.”
“They are songs that were created hundreds of years ago and they inspire that same kind of spirit,” says Col. Gina Humble, who leads the Air Force Band and Honor Guard as commander of the Air Force 11th Operation’s group, based in the Washington metro area.
This year the band and honor guard are joining more than 100 other groups participating in the 2013 inaugural parade.
“Doing all the planning and coming out here for the rehearsals and seeing it happen the way it was planned is an amazing feeing,” parade organizer, Patrick McDermott, a trumpeter and ten-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force said at a recent rehearsal for the parade.
The Air Force Band’s main role, however, is playing at military funerals.
“Everyday I’m out there playing ‘Taps’ honoring our fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery and that’s one of the biggest honors I could ask for,” McDermott says.