Tradition at the University of Tennessee carries over to a lot of places off of Rocky Top.
The UT marching band has participated in every presidential inaugural parade since 1965, almost fifty years.....
But not this time.
No other civilian group has performed as many consecutive times in the ceremony as Pride of the Southland. And while every state sends one group to represent it, this year it will Dobyns-Bennett High School in place of the Pride for Tennessee.
UT was told that the Pride had performed “too many times” in the past, a decision made by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. UT Director, Gary Sousa, said that the band was “devastated” and that it was “tough because we believe so strongly in tradition....”
It seems that as Tennessee fans we’ve grown exceptionally clingy to our traditions in the last several years. With the personnel overhaul that many of the UT programs have experienced, this isn’t really surprising. Neyland’s Maxims, games on The Summitt, and Rocky Top; these things bring us together as the Big Orange Nation.
The hurt that Pride of the Southland members must feel is shared by all of us on Rocky Top as we watch while another long standing tradition is once again seemingly pushed aside.