WASHINGTON D.C. (KSNW) – A Kansas soldier was an up-close witness and participant in the presidential inauguration on Wednesday.
“It was an incredibly proud moment,” said Sgt. Shane Nickels.
The Hutchinson native has been playing drums since he was 8 years old. It’s a skill that’s landed him a chance to perform in not one but two inaugurations.
“If I would have told myself, you know my 18-year-old self, ‘You’re going to be in the military marching for the President of the United States.’ I would say, ‘No way,'” Nickels said.
Sgt. Nickels is one of the section leaders for the snare drumline in the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
Wednesday, he was one of the members playing snare in the corps, escorting President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to their new roles in the White House.
“We got to do this amazing performance and there was this energy with all of us just being so excited to be there and to represent our country,” Sgt. Nickels said.
Earning a spot in the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps is very competitive. Nickels auditioned twice before landing the gig.
“It’s incredibly fulfilling and it’s amazing that I can serve my country through all those years of studying and practicing music,” he said.
Sgt. Nickels said the mission took a lot of challenges, including many COVID-19 tests and other safety measures.
While the inauguration looked different from other years, Sgt. Nickels hopes the ceremony left Kansans with a new hope.
“I hope they felt a sense of patriotism and pride for their country.”