For thousands of Americans, there was only one place to be
Inauguration Day was a lens through which many interpreted their own stories.
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“At first I didn’t want to come, but this is interesting. The people are friendly and it’s a chance to see Barack Obama,” he said, uncovering his nose and mouth only long enough to speak. It was, he said, very cold.Skip to next paragraph
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“As a mother of a mixed-race child, this day is special to me,” said his mother. “Instead of them being looked down on, it shows that the world is coming around to accepting people.”
“It’s definitely a start,” said husband Nigel, a project manager for a telecom company. He loves the qualities that Mr. Obama and his family bring to the White House. “I feel like he is bringing family back to us.”
Rajiv Tarigopula and Jacob Sloan left St. Louis at midnight Friday in a bus, with classmates from Parkway West High School, and drove 16 hours to D.C. They watched the first “Harry Potter” movie three times en route and were on one of the first Metro cars heading into Washington on the Red Line.
“We signed up [to come] before we knew who would be president. I thought that no matter what happened it would be an extremely historic event, because we were going to move in a new direction,” said Jacob.
Obama’s inauguration “is showing that America has moved in a new direction, and anything is possible, almost, now, and hopefully some day everything will be possible for everyone, no matter what minority you may be,” he added.
“Barack Obama has really inspired a lot of people. He’s given the hope and dream that they themselves can aspire to the highest level of success,” said Rajiv.
The view from VIP-land
The stars were out in force in Sections 1 and 2 – the inaugural viewing areas closest to the podium – giving the crowd something to watch, preceremony. Sean “Diddy” Combs, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z stood in the aisle and greeted fans, though human gridlock prevented most in the area from getting close. Somehow, Maria Menounos of “Access Hollywood” got in there with her cameraman and microphone. And cellphones and cameras pointed at them from all directions.
“Beyoncé looks so pretty – her hair is down!” one inauguration-goer gushed into her cellphone.