Inaugural Parade Announcer On The Job Since 1957
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
And while all eyes are focused on Barack Obama, his ears will be glued to this man.
Mr. CHARLIE BROCKMAN (Inaugural Parade Announcer): My name's Charlie Brockman, and I am the presidential inaugural parade announcer. I'm 81 years old, and this will be my 14th consecutive inaugural parade. The first was President Eisenhower.
(Soundbite of 1957 presidential oath of office)
Former President DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER: I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, do solemnly swear...
Mr. BROCKMAN: Eisenhower was a military man. There was no real hoopla. Basically, he was saying, I've got work to do in the White House. Let's get this thing over with.
The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans. Mr. Kennedy had charisma, personality, top hats and high fashion. It was really a lot of fun. However, we had a snowstorm in Washington, D.C., and the committee wanted to cancel the parade. And they got 3,000 service men, 700 trucks, they even had Army flamethrowers. They melted the snow, and the parade did go on as planned. When Johnson was our president, they had the most security up until that time, and the Secret Service were having nervous breakdowns, because he gets up and out of the glass enclosure, walks down to Pennsylvania Avenue so that he could shake hands with everybody. I think this is going to be the biggest and best parade we've ever had. We expect about 15,000 people to be in this historic parade, and it's exciting to have my little pinkie in political history.
MONTAGNE: Charlie Brockman has been announcing inaugural parades since 1957. It's NPR News.