Union Jr. ROTC Bound For Inaugural Parade

Wednesday, January 7th 2009, 5:50 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa will be represented in the Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C.  The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office Mounted Patrol was going to the parade, but couldn't raise the money for the trip so the spot went to a Junior ROTC unit from Union Public Schools.

They only found out last week they could go, so now they're trying to raise money and they don't have much time.

Final exams for the Junior ROTC cadets were delayed just before Christmas, but their greatest test will come in the next 10 days.  Up until now, the biggest parade they've marched in was in Tulsa on Veterans Day.  Now they're one of just six Junior ROTC units invited to march in the Inaugural Parade.

"They put us between a rock and a hard place.  If you don't go, we don't have time to ask another unit. Oklahoma won't be represented," said Sr. Master Sgt. Dan Snow.

"It was quite a shock when the Sergeant told us.  We were like that's cool, but then he told us how much money we needed.  We said that's going to be hard," said Flight Sgt. Alex Baker.

The 80 cadets need an estimated $30,000 for the trip.  They've raised only half of what they need to go.

The Junior RTOC program already has all kinds of awards from their drill meets, but getting a trip to the inauguration would be huge boost for the cadets.

"I think this is going to be one of those life changing experiences.  The kids may not fully appreciate it at 15, but when they get up in age and looking back, when the first African American president was sworn in they were not only part of it, they were part of it.  They were there," said Sr. Master Sgt. Dan Snow.

The cadets will carry the Oklahoma flag as they march past the new commander in chief.  They believe they can do it and believe they can raise the money, too.

"Well, anything is possible," said Flight Sgt. Alex Baker.

The cadets hope to leave on the Saturday before and return the day after the inauguration.  There are 80 cadets plus chaperones going and they're all trying to raise money however they can.