Idaho Firefighters March in Inaugural Parade

Jan. 22--Rob Shoplock joined about 30 other Idaho firefighters in the inaugural parade in Washington on Monday.

It was a long day. Up at 6 a.m., they waited for hours near the Pentagon and elsewhere before walking about a mile to the parade route. The actual parade was a walk of about a mile and a half.

"It was really cool to see the president and vice president and family all stand up and applaud as we went by," Shoplock said. "They told us not to smile, but I had a grin from ear to ear."

Shoplock said he heard voices of support for Idaho throughout the parade.

"People were shouting, 'We love Idaho' and 'Yay for Idaho.' It was really cool," he said.

Shoplock, president of the Idaho Firefighters Association, was to attend an inaugural ball Monday night with three other firefighters, as well as Sally Boynton Brown, executive director of the Idaho Democratic party.

"We are super-excited," Shoplock said.

Rick Johnson, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League, said he was excited by the content of Obama's speech. Johnson appreciated the references to climate change and wildfires.

"Second inaugural address speeches have a way of being remembered in some way," Johnson said. "When you have somebody who's not running for office anymore and is actually thinking in terms of what their legacy is going to be, it's interesting."

Johnson said the effect of the tragic school massacre in Newtown, Conn., last month was on the minds of several who spoke at the inauguration, including poet Richard Blanco.

"I thought that came through nicely," Johnson said.

Meghann Cuniff: 377-6418

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