Local Man Taking Part in Inauguration Ceremony

January 198, 2013

Cadet Sean Purnell has being playing the saxophone since fourth grade. On Monday, he'll be playing for the President, along with the rest of the cadets from the Virginia Military Institute.

"We play 'Shenandoah', it's a very famous tune," said Purnell. "We have bagpipes that come with and we're going to play that for the President."

VMI cadets marching in the inaugural parade is one hundred year old tradition. Cadets marched in their first parade in 1909, to take part in the inauguration of President William Taft. Purnell marched in President Obama's first swearing in ceremony in 2009 and says he doesn't expect this year's event to be much different.

One difference will be the size of the crowd. Nearly two million people attended Obama's first inauguration ceremony but this time, only about 600,000 people are expected to make the trip.

"That actually isn't bad for a second inaugural," said Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. "That would be more people than came to George Bush's second inaugural or Bill Clinton's. Clearly, there isn't the novelty or excitement that was there last time, but that's to be expected, given the historic nature of the 2008 campaign."

But some local democrats planning on going to Washington, DC for the ceremony say President Obama's second term is just as special as his first.

"I think this is just as historic as it was four years and in some ways more historic," said Valerie L'Herrou, the chair of the Albemarle County Democratic Party. "Not only do we have the first African-American president, but the first African-American president to a second term. And that to me is very, very exciting and I'm glad to be a part of it."

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