More than 10,000 people from across America — an Eskimo dance group from Alaska, a high school band from Hawaii and enactors of a black Civil War regiment from Massachusetts among them — were in the inaugural parade Tuesday for President Barack Obama.
There were cultural groups, members of the U.S. military, drill teams, Indians, floats, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Alabama teenagers dressed in vibrant organza hoop skirts and a band of Illinoisans pushing whimsically decorated lawn mowers and carrying brooms among the 103 units from all 50 states in the parade.
It took three hours for them all to travel the 1.5 mile route, mostly on broad Pennsylvania Avenue, from the Capitol to the White House.
Some of the groups could claim a relationship to the new president.
The first band in the parade was from Punahou School in Honolulu, where Obama was a student from fifth through 12th grades.
Also in the parade were members of the Naval Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Whitney Young High School in Chicago, where Michelle Obama, the president’s wife, was a student from 1977-81.
Some of the links were more light-hearted. Obama marched with the “World Famous Lawn Rangers,” the lawn mower team from Arcola, in east-central Illinois, during the 2003 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago.
Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama and family watch inaugural parade in front of White House Tuesday evening)