WATCH | Charlie Brotman has been the announcer for every inaugural parade since President Eisenhower's second inauguration in 1957. He told Circa how he became "The President's Announcer" and shared stories from his 60 years of inaugural parade experience.
A new announcer
Over the weekend, Charlie Brotman, 89, received an email from the Presidential Inaugural Committee informing him that he would not be the announcer for President Donald Trump's inaugural parade.
"I was heartbroken," Brotman said.
The committee said they would honor Brotman with the title of Announcer Chairman Emeritus and give him a special place at the inauguration, but a new announcer would be behind the microphone.
Now, Steve Ray, 56, a Trump campaign volunteer and broadcast announcer, will become the president's announcer.
"We are thrilled for Steve Ray to be introducing a new generation of Americans to the grand traditions of the inaugural parade," Boris Epshteyn, a spokesman for the Inaugural Committee said in a statement.
Many took to social media to lament Brotman's dismissal from Trump's inauguration.
It all started with a baseball game
Brotman introduced President Eisenhower when he threw out the first pitch for the Washington Senators baseball team.
Soon after the season ended, Brotman got a call from the White House.
"You must have really impressed [President Eisenhower]," Brotman recalled the woman on the other end of the phone saying to him. "He wants to know if you'll introduce him again."
"It's just amazing that every four years I get a telephone call and it's like "You are Charlie right?" "yes I am." "Well, come on to the White House we need you!"
Four years later, Brotman got a call from the White House again, this time it was the Kennedy administration asking if he would like to be the announcer again.
It takes preparation
Stacked up in a closet in his apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland, Brotman has binders full of notes for every inaugural parade he's announced.
The president's eyes
Brotman explained that announcing for an inaugural parade is more than just entertaining, he also has to be the president's eyes during the procession.
"I'm up high, the president is low... he can't see what's coming," Brotman said. "Now he knows when to stand, when to salute, when to remove his hat, when to do all of the right things because I am sharing this information with him."
The indoor parade
Brotman's favorite inaugural parade was Ronald Reagan's second. It was a frigid 7 degrees Fahrenheit, so cold that the parade had to be canceled.
Instead, Reagan held an inaugural ceremony indoors and included some of the bands and high school groups that had raised money to attend the parade.
"This was indoors, so people could dress the way they wanted too," Mr. Brotman said. "I give Reagan all the credit in the world."
Passing the torch
Now Brotman says he's ready to pass on his announcing duties to Ray.
"Good luck young man. I hope you do spectacular," he said.
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