[mccookgazette.com] Overcast ~ 47°F  
High: 70°F ~ Low: 42°F
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Playing for Nixon

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Photo courtesy Museum of the High Plains
U.S. President Richard Nixon can be seen leaning forward and to his left in his Pennsylvania Avenue reviewing stand as the 120-member McCook, Nebraska, Senior High marching band passes before him during his inauguration parade Jan. 20, 1973 in Washington, D.C. On Nixon's left is Vice President Spiro T. Agnew.

Jack Hawkins, inset, flies a Washington D.C. Police Department helicopter, above, providing security for participants -- which included the marching band from McCook, Nebraska, Senior High -- in President Richard Nixon's second inaugural parade on Jan. 20, 1973. Band director Stan Spomer recently donated the photograph to the Museum of the High Plains in McCook, where Marilyn Hawkins, Jack's widow, is curator. She was surprised -- "no, shocked" -- she said, to see the photograph of Jack in the chopper, and provided Jack's service photograph. Marilyn, who grew up in McCook, and Jack, who grew up in New York, met and married in Okinawa, where Marilyn was stationed with the U.S. Army and Jack was stationed with the U.S. Marines. Jack served with the Marines in Korea and after his discharge, joined the Washington D.C. Police Department. "We retired to McCook in 1979," Marilyn said. "Jack always enjoyed McCook; he thought it was so peaceful." Jack died in 1991.
(Courtesy photos)
Judy and Stan Spomer of McCook, Nebraska, hold the commemorative flag presented to the McCook Senior High Marching Band for its participation in the inaugural parade for U.S. President Richard Nixon on Jan. 20, 1973, in Washington D.C. The Spomers recently donated the flag and a collection of photographs and memorabilia from the parade to the Museum of the High Plains in downtown McCook to mark the upcoming 40th anniversary of the band's trip to Washington, D.C.
(Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette)
McCook, Nebraska, Senior High marching band director Stan Spomer said he received the invitation to march in U.S. President Richard Nixon's inaugural parade scheduled for Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 26. "The (school) board OK'd the trip two days later," Spomer said, and frantic fund-raising efforts to pay for the 1,500-mile trip -- three buses to carry 120 students and their instruments, Stan and Judy Spomer and 10 chaperones -- included garage sales and an auction. "Lee Janssen donated a car and it sold for $4,000," Stan Spomer said, adding with a chuckle, "It didn't even run." Spomer's wife, Judy, credits McCook jeweler Harold Sutton -- known as "Mr. Republican" -- for the band's participation as a representative of Nebraska in Nixon's inauguration. "Mr. Sutton's influence in the Republican Party got us the invitation," Judy said.
(Courtesy photo)

Fact Check
See inaccurate information in this story?

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on mccookgazette.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

We had a wonderful time as sponsors. Great group of youngsters who made us very proud! Pat and Paul James Forch!

-- Posted by pforch1 on Sat, Jan 5, 2013, at 11:55 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: