EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 14, 2009

Inaugural eve concert to honor military families


WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of military families and children from across the mid-Atlantic region will be honored during a special concert for kids on the eve of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration, organizers announced Wednesday.

Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers are slated to perform at the Monday night event, along with Demi Lovato and Bow Wow. Usher, Billy Ray Cyrus and Keke Palmer also are scheduled to appear at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington. The concert will be televised on the Disney Channel.

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden will host the event with their families. The audience will include active duty, reserve and guard forces, as well as wounded warriors and families of fallen soldiers.

"So many of our military members, they get deployed to foreign regions and have to leave their children behind," said Lt. Cmdr. Brenda Steele of the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, who has served in Afghanistan. "Now our incoming commander in chief and the new first lady to-be, they're rendering honors to us."

The Presidential Inaugural Committee said tickets have been distributed to families through the Department of Defense and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, which serves about 35,000 children annually.

"Our kids have been closely following the election process and actually conducted mock elections," said Kerrin Torres of the Boys & Girls Clubs. "They coined Barack Obama as the Boys and Girls Clubs president."

Obama's inaugural committee also announced plans to distribute more than 1,000 free tickets to the general public for its Neighborhood Inaugural Ball on Tuesday, where the Obamas are expected to have their first dance. Performers will include Beyonce, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder. Tickets are being distributed through local groups, such as the D.C. Foster and Adoptive Parent Association.

The event will be broadcast live on ABC, and inaugural organizers are encouraging viewers to participate by hosting their own parties at home.