Many Augustans plan to attend Obama's inauguration

Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 5:23 PM
Last updated Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 2:02 AM
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They can imagine crowds of people standing crushed like sardines, an entire day of being on their feet and the rush of excitement to witness history.

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Glenn Hills Middle School eighth-graders Takiyah Wilder (from left), Hollie Hales, Carmela Williams and Leyana Baggett talk about their trip to Washington.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Glenn Hills Middle School eighth-graders Takiyah Wilder (from left), Hollie Hales, Carmela Williams and Leyana Baggett talk about their trip to Washington.

As about 20 Glenn Hills Middle School pupils prepare to load onto a charter bus for a 10-hour drive to Washington to see President Obama’s inauguration Monday, they said they are looking forward to hearing his speech and getting a glimpse of the nation’s leader.

“It’s going to be an amazing experience,” said eighth-grader Leyana Baggett, 13.

When Obama’s hand is on a Bible in front of millions of onlookers for his second-term inauguration, Augusta residents will be littered among the crowd. They will include students, retirees and soldiers who want to be a part of the historic event and see the country’s first black president being sworn in a second time.

Shirley Nixon, 65, arranged for about 160 people to take three buses for a trip to the Capitol. Nixon, who registered 9,000 people to vote between the 2008 and 2012 elections, said she wants to help people achieve the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I like to do this because I want everyone to come and see history,” Nixon said. “It’s not all about me. It’s about the young generation coming up. It’s not black, and it’s not white. It’s about all of us having a good time.”

Nixon worked with her congregation at Tabernacle Baptist Church to help organize a group for the trip, as she did in 2009. At that inauguration, Nixon remembers people dancing in the street, strangers hugging strangers and not a mean word being uttered.

Obama’s inauguration brought out the best in people, she said, as it should.

The country’s first president, George Washington, was inaugurated at Federal Hall in New York City on April 30, 1789. That first ceremony started many traditions that presidents have followed since.

Washington sealed his swearing-in with a speech. It is also customary for a Su­preme Court justice to preside over the inauguration, as William Cushing, an associate justice of the Su­preme Court, did during Wash­ington’s second inauguration.

Festivities grew through the years with parades and open houses.

U.S. Rep. John Barrow donated some of his inauguration tickets and arranged for eight wounded warriors receiving treatment at the Charlie Norwood VA Medi­cal Center to travel to Washington.

The Yellow Ribbon Fund will cover the cost for the hotel rooms during the trip, and the Fisher House Foun­da­tion will use donated frequent flier miles to pay for airfare.

The soldiers will watch the inauguration Monday and get a tour of the Capitol from Barrow on Tuesday before heading back to Augusta.

“I can’t think of a better use for the very small number of tickets that I have to distribute,” Barrow said. “We owe it to them to let them be a witness to this historic event they made possible.”

Army Spc. Jessie Wollek, 23, said its important for young people to participate in such events and care about the workings of the government.

Wollek was injured in 2011 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Kan­dahar province of Afghan­istan.

He said he was lucky to keep all his limbs and is still undergoing surgery to recover.

He said getting the news that he’d be able to travel to Washington on Barrow’s trip has been a dream come true.

“It’s going to be great because this is (Obama’s) second term, and he’s going to continue to go where he has and show that he’s one of the greatest presidents we’ve had in a long time,” Wollek said.

“He’s fighting to better America. … For someone who is outside of political affairs to get to go and see that is one in a million.”

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Truth Matters
Truth Matters 01/20/13 - 06:50 am
D. C. Trip

It's so gratifying to see students especially getting such a profound civics lesson. Although this president was re-elected, may these students be reminded of the peaceful succession of power that occurs when voters choose a new commander-in-chief. I pray that our leaders will put aside personal differences for the next four years and do what they have been elected to do. They should remember that they are a "living" lesson in civics. Let's add some civility to the equation. May God bless our nation and it's many citizens!

bubbasauce 01/20/13 - 10:14 am
While they are all up there

While they are all up there maybe they can ask what kind of jobs he plans to have for them when they graduate from high school or college. Good luck with that! Oh and by the way I think there is a t.v. show I will watch on the food channel instead of the inauguration, its called Mission Impossible! I'm sorry, it's called Restaurant Impossible, same thing.

Willow Bailey
Willow Bailey 01/20/13 - 10:25 am
What's really going to be

What's really going to be "amazing" is their debt inheritance.

Jane18 01/20/13 - 02:42 pm
The Impressionable

So young, so easily deceived! I still wish them a safe trip!(I'd like to see "The Bible" that is used at the inauguration)

Sweet son
Sweet son 01/20/13 - 03:34 pm

I'm with you! Nothing could make me watch anything to do with tomorrow's happenings! Nothing! It will just signal the start of 4 more years of lies and deceit. The USA is on a slippery slope and it is sad but we are on the downhill side of that slope.

All great nations/empires rise and fall and I think most who are smart realize where the USA is in this transition!

KSL 01/20/13 - 04:18 pm
wildman 01/20/13 - 10:21 pm
Me either

but I will do a day of service and paint my house. I would appreciate if a group of the people wanting to work would come on down and bring a brush.

Riverman1 01/21/13 - 06:04 am
Anybody from the RCSO going

Anybody from the RCSO going to THIS one? Anybody want to put an Obama bumper sticker on his car?

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