Laurinburg native Joy Ellison is serving a special correspondent to the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. Ellison, a former Laurinburg City Council member shared her thoughts on what she described as a “historic day.”
The day before the big event, we drove into the city to catch some sights and sounds. The streets in D.C. were buzzing with party goers. Regular routes halted by blocked streets with police cars. We are excited to be here.
On the way out. Forging ahead. Downloaded an inaugural app to stay on top of things. According to news reports, by 8 a.m., thousands of people were waiting in security lines that stretched a block to gain access to the spots along the parade route that were accessible to the general public without a special ticket.
Got on the Metro from Maryland into the city. President Obama actually took the oath on Sunday because the Constitution stipulates that presidents begin their new terms at noon on Jan. 20. Obama was sworn in Sunday in a small ceremony at the White House.
Nice walk to the ceremony. There are plenty of people to help visitors stay on track. Ran into CBS morning show’s (and Oprah best friend) Gayle King. I took a photo.
Made every effort to avoid the crowd this time. In 2009, I wanted to be in the middle of things. Wiser about the process. Still elated to be here 150 years after Emancipation on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Glad that there was a historic time during my lifetime where I, too can march on the Washington Mall for something that I believe in. Not a protest, but progress.
There are all kinds of people here - young, old, and all races and accents. Obama’s first inaugural had 1.8 million people crammed onto the National Mall to witness the swearing-in of the nation’s first black president. There were fewer this year — officials estimated up to 700,000 people — but the crowd still stretched from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. Before the president spoke, U.S. Park Police announced that the public viewing areas on the Mall were full.
There were cheers for former presidents as well as for Jay Z and Beyonce. So far, Bill and Hillary Clinton received the biggest applause from where I stood.
We tried to watch the ceremony on the jumbo-tron, but it was on the blink.
We decided to leave and watch it at my cousin, Dr. Clarence Brown’s house. Clarence, lives part-time across the street from me in Laurinburg (keeping an eye on his aging mother) and also in the waterfront area in DC.
We watched the parade of people out of Clarence’s window. For about two hours there has been a steady stream of folks headed to the festivities.
I was pleased with the president’s speech. Watched the luncheon, commentary and parade on MSNBC. Everything was excellent.
We were preparing to leave until visitors from New York City with roots in Laurinburg arrived from watching the inauguration and parade at a Law Firm Downtown on 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue. They said that they missed the electricity of the Mall.
Historic day. That President Obama was sworn in on the same day that we are celebrating the work of Dr. King shows how far we have come as a nation. I’m very proud and I’m glad I came to witness it.