Wed. Feb 21st, 2024
Inauguration Parade - President Jimmy Carter - January 1977

My name is Lyn Kight Olliff. I played clarinet and was in the band from Fall, 1971 – Winter, 1977.

I’m sharing my memory from January, 1977 when the Redcoats were asked to represent the state of Georgia in President Jimmy Carter’s Inauguration Parade. It was a 3 day trip with 2 of the 3 days spent on a bus.

The first day was spent on the bus traveling to Washington DC. The parade was the next day in the morning.  One thing I remembered was how cold it was. It had not been above 32 degrees F in a month. Everything was frozen including the reflection ponds in front of the monuments. Even the Potomac River was frozen and had people ice skating on it. The brass players were having problems with their mouths sticking to their mouthpieces. The parade went pretty well considering we had limited time to get ready for it.

After the parade the Redcoats were turned loose to explore Washington. I was with 3 other girls and one of the girl’s aunt worked at the Capitol so we decided to go there and see if we could find her. Unfortunately the aunt had already left for the day so the girl called her aunt at home. The aunt was sorry she missed us and said to make up for it she would get us reservations at one of the restaurants near the Capitol. Little did we know that her aunt was a big wig on the hill and had been able to get us reservations at the Monocle. As we soon found out, this is where all the senators and representatives went to eat.

We walked in and were first told that they were full and had no openings. Then the girl told them her aunt had made a reservation for us. Immediately they recognized the aunt’s name and said they did have a table for us. The place was full of Congressmen and Congresswomen with their spouses all dressed up in tuxedos and long gowns eating dinner before the Inauguration Parties that night. Needless to say we four girls from Georgia in our pants (we did have time to change before we went to the Capitol so we weren’t in our uniforms) stuck out like a sore thumb. We got a lot of stares but we held our own and didn’t spill too much food in our laps.

Afterwards we went to the Kennedy Center and met up with other Redcoats and saw Arthur Fiedler conducting the Washington Symphony.  Our taxi driver to the Kennedy Center was a “Grady Baby”.  He was so excited to have Georgia people in his cab that he gave us a special tour of Washington on the way to the Kennedy Center. The next day we loaded the buses and came home.