Iowans who participated in Inauguration Ceremony say it looked different this year

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 10:33 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The world stopped Wednesday, as it does every inauguration, to watch the President of the United States be sworn into office but those participating said this year looked different due to the pandemic.

“It was special to be a part of the event and be a part of the history,” said Gunnery Sergeant Kara Santos of the President’s Own United States Marine Band.

“I’m always grateful to be able to represent the wonderful state of Iowa in my position with the band,” said Master Gunnery Sergeant Susan Rider.

Sgt. Santos and Sgt. Rider both live in Eastern Iowa and have taken part in several inauguration ceremonies. They said the event today was still historic but different. There weren’t thousands of audience members facing the Washington D.C. winter.

“It seemed slightly more subdued,” said Sgt. Santos.

Rider said the band would usually play in the parade following the ceremony and escort the sworn-in President. They would also split up the band to perform several different banquets.

“It conceivably ends up being close to a 24 hour day,” said Sergeant Rider.

None of that happened this year. The band played behind plexiglass barriers. The entire band couldn’t be at the ceremony, so the ones playing could social distance.

“I enjoy playing in the parade, but it wasn’t in the cards this year,” said Sgt. Rider.

Though the 2021 inauguration will always be looked at as different, Sergeant Rider and Sergeant Santos said their roles were an important part of the day. Being able to play reminded all of them of the U.S. tradition of January the 20th every 4-years.

“The Marine Band and the ceremony itself can provide a little bit of continuity,” said Sgt. Santos.

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