Tuesday January 20, 2009 will be a day of great remembrance and celebration because the first African American President elect, Barack Obama, will be sworn into office during the inaugural events. Projected record high attendees are expected for next week’s speech, parade and banquet dinner, to welcome the new president to the White House.
Although, this momentous occasion is just days away, many supporters are left to enjoy the festivities close to their home, as tickets for many of the events sold out weeks ago, and with a rocky economy many just could not afford the commute to Washington. Many students, faculty and staff may remain in Raleigh Tuesday, but their spirit still vies to celebrate with friends and loved ones, hosting watch parties, and attending local events. Roger Locklear, senior in public communication, was just one of the lucky few students afforded to attend the inaugural parade. “I feel honored and privileged to be apart of this historical moment. To be with Barack in person and to listen to one of the most remarkable speakers of our time is a plus!” said Locklear. He will leave Saturday mid-day in route to D.C. Unsure whether his absence will be “excused” or not, what of un-importance to Locklear, stating, “It is so worth it.” Some students are merely taking a road trip to experience the atmosphere in Washington while awaiting the parties, observance celebrations at local churches, and share in the moment with Americans from across the country.
Another person attending the inauguration is Mrs. Felicia Baity, assistant director of African American student affairs. Lodging with old classmates, Mrs. Baity was allotted a ticket for the festivities by a friend working for a local congress woman in Washington. As a trade-off for the generosity of her friend and her employer, Mrs. Baity will commit her Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to volunteering to distribute general admission inauguration tickets. Baity said, “This is a monumental day in the United States of America for so many reasons. The country will experience a change that has been long awaited, but arrives right on time.” In addition Baity will also be attending the Ohio Inaugural Ball and possibly one other while in town.
This election will always be one in which to remember. The 44th President will soon be sworn in by repeating the following:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Obama’s rest his hand on the historic, Abraham Lincoln’s bible. Special protocol had to be issued so that president-elect Obama could use the historic treasure which is kept in a secure and undisclosed location within the Congressional Library, in a keepsake box wrapped in acid-free paper.