HAMPTON, Va. (January 19, 2021) – Hampton University alumni are playing large roles in the 59th Presidential Inauguration. HU alumna Army Brig. Gen. Janeen L. Birckhead, the assistant adjutant general for the Maryland National Guard, has been chosen to command the National Guard troops who are providing support to the Inauguration, and alumna Casey Blowe, Ensign (0-1) of the United States Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard, will be involved in the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“Hampton University is incredibly proud of Brigadier General Janeen Birckhead and Ensign (0-1) Casey Blowe for their important parts in the peaceful transition of Presidential Power taking place at the Capitol. Thank you to both of them for all they do to protect and serve our wonderful country,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
Brig. General Birckhead earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Hampton University in 1991. She also holds master’s degrees from the University of Maryland University College and the U.S. Army War College. Currently, she serves as Assistant Adjutant General, Maryland Joint Force Headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the 14th Hamptonian to reach flag officer status.
Ensign Blowe is a 2018 Hampton University graduate who earned her bachelor's degree in Kinesiology. She is the daughter of Dr. Eleanor H. Blowe, the principal of Denbigh High School, who is a 1990 HU alumna. In July 2020, Blowe became the second African American female officer in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard to become an Honor Guardsman. For the Inauguration, Ms. Blowe has been given the assignment of the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“It is an honor to be able to do this ceremony, and to be in this position right now,” said Blowe. “I never thought that by doing something I enjoy, that I get to make history. I have stood in front of the first African American President and now the first African American female Vice President. It’s a big deal to stand before them and get to do what I love every day.”
The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States will begin around 11a.m (EST) on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, and will mark the commencement of the four-year term of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president. The inaugural ceremony will take place on the West Front of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Biden will take the oath of office as president, and Harris will take the oath of office as vice president.
The Wreath Laying Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery will follow, starting around 2:00 p.m. The President-elect, Dr. Biden, the Vice President-elect, and Mr. Emhoff will visit Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They will be joined by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton.