Military kids' group marching in Trump parade causes confusion

Military kids' group marching in Trump parade causes confusion
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After President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSocial media users troll GOP, Trump over ObamaCare repeal The Memo: Winners and losers from the battle over health care Trump angry Kushner, Ivanka went skiing during health debate: report MORE's inaugural committee released a list last week of parade participants for the Jan. 20 event, some were confused by the listing of a group that no one could at first confirm existed — "Kids Overseas." 

The list of 40 groups marching in Washington included "Kids Overseas," allegedly from Richmond Hill, Ga., prompting Georgians to wonder who exactly it was that would be filling Georgia's tradition of sending a band to perform in inaugurations. 

A local news reporter wrote in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "People in Richmond Hill, a city in southeast Georgia between Fort Stewart and Savannah, were stumped. Nobody at City Hall had heard of Kids Overseas. The local chamber of commerce was equally mystified."

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The group, it turns out, is not from Georgia at all. It consists of 20 eighth graders in a history class at a Defense Department school whose parents are sailors stationed at U.S. Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sigonella, Italy.  

Two active-duty service members, two military spouses, and two teachers will accompany the group, who come from 17 different states. 

The class's teacher, Shawn McCarthy, said when filling out the on-line parade application, the digital form required a “stateside” address, so they used a relative's mailing address in Georgia. 

"The Presidential Inaugural Committee selected the group to acknowledge the sacrifices of families serving worldwide. They are hoping to bring awareness to the thousands of kids serving abroad while also celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Department of Defense Education Activity," McCarthy said in an email to The Hill.  

This is the second time the group has participated in a presidential inauguration. McCarthy's class in 2012 also attended the January 2013 inauguration for President Obama, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the Kids Inaugural Concert.  

Encouragement from Obama to heighten awareness of military families prompted the group to apply. Last year, military parents asked McCarthy to apply for this month's event.

He said there are nearly 50,000 military and Department of Defense children who attend school on U.S. military bases around the world, and he hopes appearing in Trump's inauguration can highlight them.

"The toughest question for a military kid overseas to answer is 'Where are you from?'  Ironically, this is the same challenge our group faces. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused our friends in Georgia and to your readers," he said. 

"Though our group will not specifically be representing Georgia, we will be representing the rich military tradition and patriotism for which Georgia is known," he added. 

During the trip, the students will also be laying a Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, touring the Pentagon, visiting the U.S. Capitol, attending a presentation at the U.S. Supreme Court, visiting the National Archives, and exploring the Smithsonian Museums. They are raising funds for the trip through a GoFundMe page.