Weekly staffer Timothy Giles traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the inauguration of our 44th President Barack Obama. These are a few of the people Giles met while attending pre-inauguration events on Tuesday.
William Smith, 52
Originally from Pittsburgh, Penn. but now lives in Miami. Dentist for the federal bureau of prisons. Took off work to be at inauguration.
“I had to be here. I had to experience the transformation of the country. This has to be a transformation … a demonstration of possibly the evolution of our country culturally, intellectually … into a new era. Like Dr. King said, ‘to judge someone by their character instead of their color.’
“It’s pretty awesome (being here in person). The turnout is incredible. I can’t describe it. The peacefulness and the tranquility of the people walking around and experiencing this.
“I want to take as many pictures as I can to take (for) loved ones who couldn’t be here. Pictures of everything. The setups, the crowds, just so they can see how many people turned out – the different colors and races and sizes.”
Meghan Oakley, 26
Originally from Quincy, Ill. Lives in Tacoma Park, Md. Project Manager for non-profit organization.
“I am off work today for the (MLK) holiday, but we’ll see about tomorrow. I might be sick. (Smiling.)
“I just think this is an opportunity to really witness history. This is the first political campaign that I was ever involved in, so I am excited to see it all happen and come together.
“It’s just amazing to see so many people. Just to be in line to get tickets was crazy. It’s crazy (but) everyone is really friendly, and it’s just cool to see people from states all over the country. Its just really wonderful. Everyone is in a good mood. No one seems to mind the cold. This is a nice sense of what the U.S. is and hopefully we’ll bring that back (to this country) after all these years.”
Katie Oakley, 28
Reston, VA, International Student Direct for the Washington Semester Program at American University.
“I’m definitely encouraging (my students) to get involved in inauguration activities as much as possible. It’s a very exciting time to be studying in Washington. The students are very lucky to be here to witness the inauguration firsthand as opposed to seeing it on TV. I can’t wait to get into the office on Wednesday and hear what they have to say. For many of them it’s a way to see the American political process firsthand and learn more about the U.S. A lot of them just arrived in America and have been here for a couple of weeks. So it’s really exciting for them.
“I’ve been a big supporter of Obama, and I am just really excited. This is certainly a historic inauguration. This is actually my third inauguration since I’ve been in D.C. but the first one that I’ve actually attended. I’m just looking forward to watching history unfold. Barack is a great orator, so I can’t wait to hear what he has to say. I think it will be a very touching and moving experience, especially on Martin Luther King weekend. I think there is definitely something historic, symbolic even, about that. … My uncle and my cousins are here from Illinois and my aunt is here from Baltimore and good family friends. So it’s been a good chance to reconnect and visit with family from around the country.
Sherae Hunter, 29
New Orleans, works for Senator Landrew from Louisiana. Just got to Washington D.C. morning (Monday).
“This is crazy. That’s the simplest way to put it. But I think it’s an exciting crazy. No one’s freaking out. It’s been an exciting time.
“It’s an exciting time to be a part of history. I brought my kids. My son is seven. He’s really excited about it. My two-year-old was saying the whole way here, ‘Were going to see Barack Orama?’ He keeps saying it. ‘Barack Orama.’ So he’s really excited.”
Joyce Rodgers, age not given
Dallas, TX, inspirational speaker.
“I came with friends. We wanted to be here for this grand celebration. We wanted the generation behind us to see us in the history books as a part of this event.”