Presidential Inaugural Committee Invites Special Olympics to March in 56th Inaugural Parade

Talent From Across America To March In Parade From Capitol To White House

WASHINGTON – In keeping with its commitment to hold inaugural events that celebrate our common values and reflect the diversity and history of our great nation, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice Presidentelect Joe Biden’s Inaugural Committee officially extended an offer to Special Olympics to march in the 56th Inaugural Parade. Special Olympics athletes, volunteers and supporters will join representatives from across the country and our Armed Forces in the historic parade down Pennsylvania Avenue following President-elect Obama’s swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the Capitol.

“I am honored to invite these talented groups and individuals to participate in the Inaugural Parade,” said President-elect Obama. “These organizations embody the best of our nation’s history, diversity and commitment to service. Vice President-elect Biden and I are proud to have them join us in the parade.”

Organizations wishing to participate in the parade submitted an application to the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC), which then assisted the Presidential Inaugural Committee in reviewing all of the groups’ applications. All told, 1,382 organizations applied to participate, setting a new standard for interest in marching in the parade.

Upon hearing its selection, Special Olympics made the Inaugural Parade part of its Global Law Enforcement Torch Run(r) and the parade participants, a team of Special Olympics athletes, law enforcement officials who serve as guardians of the flame, and other supporters will carry the Flame of HopeTM for all to see.

Since November 24, 2008, the Flame of Hope has traveled more than 30,000 miles around the world stopping on each continent to deliver a message of spirit and hope to communities where people with intellectual disabilities continue to fight for acceptance and a chance to excel without barriers.

After the Inaugural Parade, the Flame of Hope will continue across America until it reaches Boise, Idaho, where it will be used to ignite the cauldron at the Opening Ceremonies for the Special Olympics World Winter Games that will take place from February 7-13, 2009.

Special Olympics is an international nonprofit organization and global movement dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition. Special Olympics offers year-round training and competition in 30 Olympic-type summer and winter sports to more than 2.8 million individuals with intellectual disabilities worldwide.

All participants in the Inaugural Parade are responsible for paying for their own lodging and transportation to and from Washington, D.C. The Committee has been working closely with area governments and civic organizations to facilitate access to affordable accommodations and would like to encourage citizens from across the country to reach out and help Special Olympics raise the necessary resources to participate in this historic event.

If you are interested in finding out more about supporting the Special Olympics and their participation in the 56th Inaugural Parade, please contact Cary McPartlin at 202-459-7561 or cmcpartlin@ . You may also visit to learn more.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee was assisted in its selection process by a group of experienced military musicians, who utilized their expertise to help assess the presentation skills of marching bands, musical acts and drill teams.

Regularly updated information will be provided to the public and at website,

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