Cadets March in Virginia Governor’s Inauguration Parade
The regimental staff leads nearly 300 cadets in the inauguration parade for new Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. -- VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
LEXINGTON, Va., Jan. 12, 2014 – Almost 300 Virginia Military Institute cadets returned early from their Christmas furlough to march in the parade honoring Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who was inaugurated yesterday as the Commonwealth’s 72nd governor.
Plans for the Corp’s appearance began in November, when the Institute received official notice of the invitation to participate in the inauguration parade, to be held in downtown Richmond. The schedule, though, posed a problem, as the inauguration was scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 11, and the Corps was not scheduled to return from furlough until Sunday, Jan. 12.
At that point, explained Cadet Alyssa Ford ’14, a decision was made to have a smaller number of cadets march in the parade. All of the cadets holding rank in the Corps were required to return, with volunteers filling out the remainder of the ranks.
“We had a lot of volunteers,” noted Ford, who serves as regimental S-5 commander in charge of public relations. “We had a great turnout.”
Those cadets returning early were required to be back on post by noon on Thursday, Jan. 9, although cadets living in or around Lexington were given an extension until 9 a.m. the next morning. For most of the returning cadets, Thursday afternoon was given over to haircuts and getting their rifles, sabers, and uniforms in spit-and-polish condition.
On Friday morning, heavy rain forced the cadets to hold their first practice march inside Cocke Hall instead of on the Parade Ground. That afternoon, with rain still falling, the cadets donned ponchos and held a second practice march, this time around the Parade Ground. Time not spent marching was spent in briefings and planning sessions.
“Most of the time we’re here two weeks before a parade,” said Ford. “[This time] it’s all go, go, go. There’s no time to rest. Everything’s done within a day and a half.”
Despite not having the full Corps present, “I think the effect will still be good,” Ford said the day before the parade. “We’re still giving tribute to our new commander in chief. We’ll still be a part of his inaugural parade. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that Virginia history?”
Afterward, Ford said that the Corp’s appearance had gone off without a hitch. “It was short, sweet, and to the point,” she reported. “It stopped raining as we got there and held off until we left, so that was an added bonus.”
Ford was also appreciative of the chance to make history by marching in two inauguration parades in successive years – last year, she and the rest of the Corps marched in the inauguration parade for President Barack Obama.
To see video of cadets in the parade, visit VMInews.tumblr.com.
-- Mary Price