Inaugural Notebook: 85-Year-Old Charlie Brotman, Official Parade Announcer Since Eisenhower
A week from now Barack Obama will place his hand on a Bible once owned by Martin Luther King, Jr. and take the oath of office to begin his second term.
It’s a reminder of just how much has changed since we were here four years ago on the edge of a new era, one in which President-elect Obama promised to bridge partisan divides. Now, the mantra of Hope and Change has been replaced with more sober expectations.Washington is still a town of tradition, and early Sunday morning, thousands of police, soldiers, Marines and others turned out to rehearse one: the Inaugural Parade. There were contingents of soldiers with bayoneted rifles; marching bands with tubas, bugles and drums; and mounted police — all following a faux entourage simulating the First Family, making their way down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.
“I’m the president’s eyes and ears at the parade,” he said. “He’s just looking straight ahead from the ground level reviewing stand but I can see what’s coming because I’m a couple of stories up.”
“The fun of it all,” Brotman says, “is that when I say ‘the U.S. Army Band’ he knows when to stand, when to salute, or put his hand over his heart.”
“I’m just an ordinary guy doing an extraordinary announcing chore,” Brotman says, “and my adrenalin is sky high.”