January 26, 2009

Drum major suspended for Obama wave

A Cleveland marching band said a drum major has been suspended for nodding and waving toward President Barack Obama during the inaugural parade.

Pipe Major Mike Engle, bandleader of the Cleveland Firefighters Memorial Pipes & Drums, said Drum Major John Coleman has been suspended for six months after he acknowledged the president during last week's inaugural parade in Washington, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Monday.

We had gone over and over time and again with everyone in the band that this was a military parade. Protocol and proper decorum had to be followed at all times, Engle said. Unfortunately, John chose to ignore that.

Engle said other bands in the parade complained about Coleman's behavior.

He has to abide by the rules, Engle said. It had to be done.

Coleman said he did not believe he had done anything overly demonstrative during the parade.

I looked over, and he smiled and waved. I was just acknowledging the president, who was acknowledging our band, he said.