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The U.S. Marine Corps Band prepared for its historic role in the presidential inauguration by rehearsing music Wednesday.
A brass ensemble from the Marine Corps Band will play during a prayer breakfast at the Washington National Cathedral a day after President Barack Obama is sworn in for a second term.
"It should be a solemn and serious moment," said Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Mike Ressler.
Ressler, who has served for 38 years and is the band's historian, said the music kicks off the first full day of the president's second administration in a "great and appropriate way."
The Marine Corps Band has provided the soundtrack behind the inaugural ceremonies and parades since 1801. The first inaugural parade was held in 1805 when Navy Yard workers, military units and civic leaders decided to escort President Thomas Jefferson from the U.S. Capitol to the White House.
"It was kind of an impromptu affair," Ressler said.
A few things have changed since then.
Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. William Browne is the band's drum major.
"A military formation doesn't just happen," Browne said. "There's a lot of practice that goes in there and a lot of leading and mentoring."
Military protocol dictates the Marine Corps Band will march in the inaugural parade after the Army, which marches first, because it was the second military branch established.
If you are heading to the inaugural ceremonies, prepare by reading the WAMU Inauguration 2013 Guide.