In the footsteps of Mike Pence

The Columbus North High School marching band, Sound of North, visited one of Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s favorite places Thursday in their sightseeing tour of Washington, D.C. — the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

Band members posed for a group photo in front of the memorial, which features a large bronze statue of Joe Rosenthal’s famous photograph of Marines raising the U.S. flag over Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Ocean.

In a Veterans Day speech Nov. 11 at Camp Atterbury, then-Gov. Pence shared a memory of going to the memorial for the first time as a congressman and walking to view the sculpture. From there, Pence said he could see the other national monuments, the U.S. Capitol and the White House, and vowed that the only picture he would ever have in his congressional office would be of that spot he viewed that night.

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Pence’s wife Karen gave him a photo taken from that spot for his congressional office as a gift years ago.

“I will take that photo and hang it in the vice president’s office,” he told the Veterans Day crowd.

Signs of a new vice president

Signs announcing Columbus as the hometown of soon-to-be inaugurated Vice President-elect Mike Pence will be unveiled this morning at two entryways to the city.

City crews, including firefighters with bucket ladders, Thursday morning began measuring for placement of the signs on poles that welcome people to the city on U.S. 31 at Lowell Road and on Jonathan Moore Pike.

The signs were temporarily placed on the poles so holes could be drilled, but were then removed and will be put back up at about 11:30 a.m. today, just before Pence is sworn in as vice president in Washington D.C.

The signs are blue with white lettering which reads “Hometown of Michael R. Pence, United States Vice President.”

Department of Public Works Director Bryon Burton worked with the transition team of then-Governor Pence to get specifications on what would be allowed on the sign. The city plans to eventually add the vice presidential seal to the sign, after receiving federal approval.

Surprise encounter with Bob Knight

Family members of Vice President-elect Mike Pence would expect to see well-known people in Washington this week for the presidential inauguration, but several were pleasantly surprised to encounter legendary former college basketball coach Bob Knight.

Knight is best known for coaching Indiana University men’s basketball, leading the Hoosiers to three national championships.

Greg and Ed Pence, Mike’s older brothers, their spouses Denise and Kim, and the vice president-elect’s mother, Nancy Pence Fritsch, ran into Knight in the foyer of the Grand Hyatt hotel.

They talked with Knight for about 40 minutes and posed for pictures with him, Denise Pence said.

“He was very chatty and pumped about the Trump administration,” she said.

Denise Pence said she previously met Knight on the campaign trail, and years ago the coach filmed a commercial for Greg to promote Marathon Oil. During their encounter Wednesday night, Knight shared stories about his time on Trump’s campaign trail and why he got involved, she said.

Later, the Pence quintet joined two other family members for dinner at the Trump Hotel, where President-elect Donald Trump made an appearance.

“Everyone stood in the hotel and cheered and clapped,” Denise Pence said.

Double takes at identification badge

Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop has been in Washington, D.C., since Tuesday attending a mayor’s conference and was looking forward to meeting with fellow Hoosiers at Thursday night’s Indiana gala.

Several mayors have done a double take when glancing at his conference nametag, which in addition to the name “Jim Lienhoop,” also says “Columbus, Indiana.” Other mayors have immediately recognized that the city is home to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Lienhoop and his wife Pam were doing some sightseeing and attending the gala, and also plan to be in the viewing stands near the White House to watch the Columbus North High School Sound of North march in the inaugural parade this afternoon.

A Columbus City Hall invite

Columbus City Hall and Mayor Jim Lienhoop are inviting the public to watch the live video feed of the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect and Columbus native Mike Pence.

The gathering will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Cal Brand meeting room at City Hall, 123 Washington St. People who attend are encouraged to bring their lunch to the viewing party. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, visit columbus.in.gov.

Delegation catching the sights

While filmmaker Mel Brooks popularized the phrase “It’s good to be king,” being the Bartholomew County Republican chairwoman can be a hassle.

After new opportunities became available, Barb Hackman spent her first morning in Washington D.C. traveling to three different locations to get tickets for events desired by members of the Columbus delegation: Thursday’s Welcome Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, today’s inauguration ceremony and tonight’s Liberty Ball. Hackman said it wasn’t until after the local delegation arrived at 8 p.m. Wednesday that tickets to the Liberty Ball were made available to her group.

On their first full day in Washington D.C., several members of the delegation decided to catch some unusual attractions. One was the Anderson House, headquarters for the Society of the Cincinnati, Bartholomew County Council member Matt Miller said. Founded in 1783 and considered the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, the Society of the Cincinnati is now a nonprofit educational organization and museum. Another attraction frequently overlooked by visitors was a tour of The President Woodrow Wilson House, where the 28th U.S. president lived in retirement from 1921 until his death in 1924.

Prior to arriving in Washington,D.C. by plane Wednesday night, some personal matters back home left Bartholomew County Council member Bill Lentz hesitant to go to the inaugural festivities. But his wife, county election supervisor Shari Lentz, was able to talk him into going. After visits to Mount Vernon and Alexandria, Virginia, as well as the capital building, Shari Lentz asked her husband if they could fly back to Indiana immediately after today’s inauguration. “But now that I’m here, I want to stay for a few more days,” Bill Lentz said. “I’m trying to talk Shari into waiting until Monday before we leave.”

How much fun is it to attend a ball without your Cinderella? That’s a question that Columbus delegation member Dwayne Hines might be able to answer when he returns to Columbus. While Hines got the tuxedo and a ticket to attend the Indiana Society of Washington Inauguration Ball, his wife, Tami Hines, was unable to go to Washington, due to work demands. Hours before Thursday’s event began, Hines said he was looking forward to the sit-down dinner and socializing. “But I do miss my sweetie,” Hines said.