A bit of aloha at President Obama's inauguration - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

A bit of aloha at President Obama's inauguration

First couple gives the Punahou marching band a 'shaka' - Photo: Gerald Herbert First couple gives the Punahou marching band a 'shaka' - Photo: Gerald Herbert

The party rolled on in Washington, D.C. Monday!

Earlier in the day, we watched Hawaii-born Barack Obama take the oath of office for a second time. At the inaugural parade that followed, the spirit of aloha marched proudly past him

The 5,000 miles that separate our islands and our Nation's Capital didn't seem quite so far on Monday. Once again, the country has a President who hails from Hawaii, and Monday afternoon, the world got to see - and hear - a bit of aloha.

Over the President's reviewing stand loudspeaker, the announcer proclaimed, "The Punahou School is proud to represent Honolulu, Hawaii!" Cheers erupted.

150 of Punahou's marching band, cheerleaders, and ROTC had the honor of leading the state entries in the inaugural parade. (All 50 states were represented.) They played a special medley of school songs as they passed the President and First Family.

After the parade, Punahou's marching band director, Mark Falzarano, described how his students were feeling. "They were ecstatic! They were jumping up and down. There was such a sense of relief that they were pleased at how well they performed for the President, for the country, for the cameras in, representing everyone - the state of Hawaii and Punahou."

Not long after Punahou went by, the announcer introduced another marching band that brought big applause from the crowd. "The Kamehameha Schools Warriors marching band and color guard is from Honolulu, Hawaii!"

About 100 of Kamehameha's band, its letter and flag lines, and hula dancers filed past the reviewing stand - playing "Aloha Oe". That prompted a familiar flash from the President.

"I did notice that President Obama shaka'ed, and he shaka-ed back to each and every one of us," Kamehameha's assistant marching band director, Alika Young, told Hawaii News Now. "And the First Lady, Michelle, she blew a nice honi (kiss) to each and every one of us."

Both schools had a 4:00 a.m. wake-up call - prior to the 7:30 secret service security sweep. They ended up waiting more than six hours for the parade to start, but from beginning to end, they told us it was the experience of a lifetime.

The one thing they were worried about was not their nerves, but the cold! It was about 40 degrees in Washington, and the band directors told me the students brought plenty of thermals and layered their clothes.

You can watch extended coverage of both bands' performances on this website. Well done, students!


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