WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time in six decades, a new voice will lead this year’s presidential inaugural parade.
Charlie Brotman, 89, has been the announcer for every inaugural parade since Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second term in 1957. But President-Elect Donald Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee has picked a new lead announcer, local news media outlets reported.
Brotman, who found out that he lost the job in an email, told WJLA-TV that he was “heartbroken” by the decision.
“I’m disappointed,” Brotman told The Washington Post. “I know I can do it. I know that I’ve done it many, many times. They ask me every time and it’s such an honor.”
The new lead announcer will be Steve Ray, a freelance announcer, audio engineer and producer. The 58-year-old tells media outlets that he’s not replacing Brotman; he just happens to be the guy “who’s next.”
“I’m not replacing Charlie. I’m not filling his shoes,” Ray told WJLA. “I’m really just the guy who’s next, because Charlie is irreplaceable. He’s an absolute legend.”
After presidents are sworn into office, they traditionally parade down Pennsylvania Ave to the White House. They then watch the rest of the parade — which includes school marching bands and military groups — pass by from a viewing stand outside the White House.
The inaugural committee has named Brotman “Announcer Chairman Emeritus” and has offered him a prime seat to the event.
Inaugural Committee Spokesman Boris Epshteyn said in a statement that it is proud to honor Brotman and thrilled for Ray “to be introducing a new generation of Americans to the grand traditions of the inaugural parade.”
Brotman, who also was previously an announcer for the former Washington Senators baseball team, said he hopes Ray does well.
“I’m saying, ‘You know what? Good luck, young man. I hope you do spectacular,” Brotman said.
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