President-Elect Donald J. Trump had invited the Talladega College's Marching Band to participate in the Inaugural Parade today, January 20, 2017. They didn't have the money to take the band, and donors of the college and people of affluence of the college tried to persuade the president Billy C. Hawkins not to go. They were highly critical of Donald J. Trump because of their perceived belief that he was not a friend to black people. The debate was hot and furious. The battle lines were drawn.
President Hawkins declared forcefully, “It’s about the students having an opportunity to participate on this national stage, in this inaugural ceremony,” he told host Bill O’Reilly. “It’s a civic ceremony. It’s not about politics.”
This historically black college –- which was started by two former slaves in 1865 — is officially headed to the nation’s capital, thanks to funds raised through a GoFundMe page. I heard on the radio news today that they had raised far more money than they needed--their need was $75,000, but as of Thursday, January 19, they had raised over $600,000. What a modern day miracle. God specializes in things thought impossible.
Thanks to many people who gave The Great Tornado Marching Band from Talladega College – under the direction of Miguel Bonds – will be on its grandest stage ever, with eyes on both sides watching and Hawkins likely deflecting the debate. “I get that folks are upset,” Hawkins said, “and I feel for those who feel the way they do. But I feel for our students. They want to go. I feel I have to be responsible to the student body. It’s about this band wanting to be part of this event. We are representing the state of Alabama. It’s about the experience. It’s about a peaceful transition of power. We’re confident we made the right decision. God did not put us in this position just to leave us at this point.”
[Editor's footnote: The Great Tornado Marching Band from Talladega College did arrive in Washington, DC, after 13 hours or travel. They were tired, but were ready to get to bed and enjoy a good night's rest and sleep.
I take my hat off to President Billy Hawkins and the band members. I stand to salute them. I have never played in the inaugural parade, but I have marched in parades in Washington, DC, when I played trombone in the Quantico Marine Band. It is an experience these young men and women will never forget, and they will treasure their memory of this historic day of having been a part of this inauguration day parade.
I look forward to seeing them today as I watch the parade on television. Most everyone loves a parade.]