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Charleston teen to participate in inauguration parade

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One Charleston teenager was the only youth to bear his state's banner in President Barack Obama's inauguration parade.

Breece Ferrell, 15, heard about the chance to participate in the parade from a family friend. After traveling to Washington, D.C., on his 15th birthday, Ferrell was placed in charge of section five of the parade.

"I was in charge of keeping track of two busloads of high school band people," Ferrell said. "I was showing them around and making sure they knew where to go, until it came time for the actual parade to happen and I held the sign for West Virginia and helped set the pace for them and lead them."

Ferrell said the section leaders were paired with someone from the military, who helped with the logistics of the parade. Each section included different things, Ferrell said. A color guard marched in front of him while behind Mexican dancers representing freedom of religion did a traditional dance.

"It was mainly high school bands, but there was a plethora of different things going on," Ferrell said of the parade. "The overall parade itself was massive. It was a massive operation."

The inauguration parade was held up for two hours because the inauguration lunch was behind schedule. Because of the hold up, Ferrell said many spectators had left the parade route, and it was dark by the time section five began marching.

"It was amazing to think I was doing this," he said. "Even though the parade had stopped and was held up for two extra hours, it was a really good feeling to walk down there like that."

Ferrell said his military counterpart was helpful and despite being the only youth flag bearer, he wasn't fazed.

"I sort of let my natural characteristics and leadership take over," he said. "Everything was basically the same (as with adult flag bearers) even though there weren't other youth doing it."

Obama was sworn in for his second term Sunday. The inauguration celebrations took place Monday.