Colorado National Guard members depart to Washington D.C. ahead of Inauguration Day

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DENVER — At least 200 members of the Colorado Army and Air National Guard (CONG) left for Washington D.C. Sunday. The troop deployment, activated by Gov. Jared Polis Thursday, will help with security for Inauguration Day after last week’s insurrection at the Capitol.

Polis was on hand and thanked the members as they departed Sunday morning.

“The presence of the Colorado National Guard and others will help ensure our nation’s capital and all Americans in attendance including those who call it home and members of our federal government are safe and protected during this peaceful transition of power that has occurred in our country for hundreds of years,” Polis said in a statement.

Colorado will be one of at least 40 other states sending National Guard members to the nation’s capital, according to the governor’s office. Around 20,000 total National Guard members will deploy for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

Over the past 12 months, the Colorado National Guard has also been deployed to help with COVID-19 testing and support across the state and helped battle some the largest wildfires in state history, which occurred last summer and fall.

CONG said National Guard support to presidential inaugurations dates to April 30, 1789, when local militia members — today’s National Guard — joined the U.S. Army and revolutionary war veterans to form an honor detail and escort President Washington to his inauguration ceremony in New York City from Mount Vernon, Virginia.