A group of singing eighth-graders, aptly named Kids Overseas, will have Georgia’s spot in Donald Trump’s inaugural parade later this month, but the group really has no ties to Georgia.
The children attend a school on a U.S. Navy base in Sigonella, Italy, and just used a Georgia address in filing out the application to be in the parade. Traditionally, each state has one representative in the parade. Georgia has traditionally been represented by high school or college marching bands. In 2013, the Georgia State University band marched in the parade.
Kids Overseas applied using a Richmond Hill address because parade rules require a U.S. address. When they were selected, that meant that Georgia effectively was shut out of the parade. Richmond Hill is in Bryan County, near Fort Stewart, in Southeast Georgia. The Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce said they had no knowledge of the group and that they have received calls from multiple media outlets asking about the group.
Department of Defense Education Activity spokesman Will Griffin said the group was not trying to take Georgia’s place in the parade but was just trying to get entry into the event.
“One of our educators, located at DoDEA’s Sigonella MHS in Italy, submitted a request online with the Inaugural Committee for a group of his students to participate in the parade,” Griffin said. “The online application form did not accept an “APO” (overseas military) address, so the educator used a relative’s U.S. address to complete the form. Let me apologize for any confusion this may have caused.”
The group, which performed at a different inaugural event in 2013, does not want to pretend it is representing Georgia.
“The 20 students participating will be representing the 73,000 military-connected students that attend our schools worldwide,” Griffin said.