Fair Specimens of Citizen Soldiers
The Corps of Cadets may have been last, but they were heard. The Pershing Square was the perfect formation to pass in review for the Commander in Chief of the United States America. Rah Virginia Mil.
I thought the Corps looked and sounded fabulous–theband is so much better than when I was in it. And nothing beats overcoat dyke–makes the service academies look anemic by comparison. I passed on the chance to marh in the 1974 inauguration (Nixon II) in part because I didn’t trust Nixon and in part because I knew I’d get laid at Randy-Mac instead. I’ll leave you all to sort out which was my primary motivation–but my charming bride Mary (who did not, I might add, go to R-M–we met in the Army years later) and I attended the 1993 inauguration–we had tix to ust behind the congressional families on the Capitol Lawn (one of maybe two good deals we got in three years of Pentagon service)–there is nothing like being so close to the peaceful transfer of power at an inauguration. Once again, I am very proud of the Corps.
I marched in the Bush 41 parade in 1989. It was a memorable experience: a very long cold day, being on our feet all day long, and dodging piles of horse shit in the streets.
Hey BR, that was actually me. I had a stomach full of Club Crozet, wore woolie lower leggings, but was otherwise commando under my overcoat.
Seriously though, it’s a shame that we, by virtue of alphabet and lack of a Virginian President or Vice-President, are always stuck in the back, well after sunset, passing an empty reviewing stand.
Has any sort of rotation (a quadrennial reversing of alphabetical order) ever been proposed? And I am making the assumption that the order of march is still: the home states of the President & Vice-President, then everyone else in alphabetical order. The Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, & Arizona contingents are probably halfway home before we even sniff the White House.
The tradition of VMI saluting American Presidents by marching in the Inaugural Parade started in 1909. VMI marched in every Inaugural parade from that time until 1993. In 1993 right after the justice department under President Clinton flied suit to eliminate VMI’s all-male status, President Clinton’s Inaugural Committee refused to allow VMI to participate in the Presidential Inaugural Parade saying that doing so “sends the wrong message.”
In response to that decision, according to a part of the full-page advertisement purchased by several alumni (yeah, blame me) and published in the September 17, 1993 issue of The Cadet:
“Since 1839, the Virginia Military Institute produced none Rhodes Scholars, 38 college/university presidents, and NFL head coach, three U.S. Senators, numerous congressman, CEOs, explorers, authors, military leaders, actors, an Academy Award winning producer, civil rights advocates, six Congressional Medal of Honor winners, and the only soldier in history to win the Nobel Prize for Peace.
“We think that’s a fine message indeed.”
I don’t have the stats after 1993, but I believe that once VMI lost the lawsuit and admitted women they were allowed back into the parade and have continued since then, but I don’t have the exact numbers.
Hope this helps.