Locals absorb inauguration
Alicia Berry missed having the chance to cast her vote for President Barack Obama more than four years ago, with her 18th birthday falling just outside the time frame for going to the polls in the fall of 2008.
But this past autumn, her first time voting in a presidential election, the 21-year-old student at High Point University seized her opportunity. On Monday, she followed through on her vote by watching as Obama took the oath of office for a second time just before noon outside the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
“I’m seeing the results of my vote,” said Berry, who joined several dozen people to watch the inauguration at the Carl Chavis branch of the YMCA of Greater High Point.
Berry was joined by her friend Rynisha Dean, a 24-year-old student at North Carolina A&T State University.
“It’s monumental,” Dean said about the inauguration ceremonies for the nation’s first black president. “It’s the second time he’s made history. And I’m not sure when it might happen again.”
Some of the people watching the inauguration on a wall-mounted, flat-screen TV in a meeting room of the Chavis YMCA branch arrived more than a half an hour before the president took the oath from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. The men, women and families sat at in metal chairs at fold-out card tables, enjoying a light lunch as the proceedings in the nation’s capital unfolded.
The crowd cut off their conversation and turned their eyes to the TV screen as the president took the brief oath as mandated by the Constitution. The guests of the Chavis YMCA cheered as Obama completed the oath, then listened to his remarks that covered about 20 minutes.
Inauguration watch events took place across the High Point area Monday, and a handful of local Democrats went to Washington to be among 800,000 witnessing the event in person.
The Rev. Terry Rorie, minister at CARE Discipleship Mission, came to the Chavis YMCA with his wife, his young niece and even younger nephew to impart a message to the two children. Rorie and his wife, Marjorie, sat at one of the tables with the energetic 4-year-old Erik and 5-year-old Nija.
“We want to expose them to the awareness of being responsible citizens,” Rorie said. “Hopefully, when they are older, they will pick up where we left off.”
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