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The Inaugural Parade: Eight Floats to Watch For

The eight floats in the inaugural parade each have a theme.

Are you watching today's inaugural parade? Keep an eye out for eight floats in particular.

The floats took 3,000 man hours to construct. While that sounds like a lot of work, it's no trouble for the company that builds them. They started building floats for inaugural parades in 1949.

"That was the first one and we've been involved in every one since," said Earl Hargrove Jr., founder of Hargrove Inc.. Hargrove is a trade show, special event and custom exhibit company based in Maryland.

"Each president gives us a theme," said Fred Strickland, executive director of production at Hargrove. 

This year, one float will include a two-thirds scale replica of an authentic P-51 Mustang in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, Strickland said.

The eight floats are:

  • The Hawaii State Float – Hawaii is the birthplace of President Barack Obama. The float features a large volcano modeled after the famous Diamond Head Volcano and a tribute to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye.
  • The Illinois State Float – Illinois is the birthplace of First Lady Michelle Obama. The float features American flags, the state flag and a panorama of the Capitol.
  • The Pennsylvania State Float – Pennsylvania is the birthplace of Vice President Joe Biden. The float includes a replica of the Liberty Bell and the Pennsylvania State Seal.
  • The Delaware State Float – Delaware is the home state of Vice President Joe Biden and Second Lady Jill Biden. The float includes a replica of State Capitol Bell Tower.
  • The Martin Luther King Jr. Float – The float’s design features an image of King and a representation of his quote “out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
  • The Civil Rights Movements Float – The Civil Rights float features images representing historic struggles of many of the civil rights movements in our country. The images represent struggles for rights for immigrants, women and homosexuals, along civil and labor Rights. The float also includes Martin Luther King's quote, “The Arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
  • The Tuskegee Airmen Float – The float is a tribute to the brave young men who were the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. Armed Forces. The float features a model North American P-51 Mustang.
  • The Inaugural Theme Float: “Our People. Our Future.” – The American people are the focus of this float. Riding on the float are the citizen co-chairs for the National Day of Service.

For more on the 57th Presidential Inauguration, visit Arlington Patch's Presidential Inauguration 2013 special section.

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