Inauguration: Lindenwold Bloggers

Local students write about their Inauguration Journey

My name is Brittany Alston. I am a freshman at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Though I cannot officially declare a major, I will be a political science major in my sophomore year. My dreams are to become involved with community issues, in which I can influence progress and change. I aspire to go to law school after my undergraduate studies are completed.

The Eve of the Inauguration, January 19th, 2009
In the beginning of this election I was not a completely obsessed Barack Obama fan, as I am now. I was scared to become another African American who only believed in Barack because his skin complexion favored their own.

I wanted to know that this man would not pass my generation by and look out for only those people in income brackets that I can only dream of. I listened to his speeches, speeches reminiscent of Dr. Martin Luther King, and I was hooked.

His genuine spirit radiated through the television into my heart, causing tears to flow down my cheeks as I heard hope personified through this man. His deceiving title, “politician”, was offset by his ability to care for the people’s needs. Barack Obama heard the cries of those people selling their homes or having their homes foreclosed. He felt for the parents losing their jobs, causing them to struggle to support their families. He saw the need for closing the education gap between the fortunate and less fortunate. He represented the American Dream.

In high school I was trying to think of what I may want to do with my life. I used my participation in the Lindenwold High School newspaper to help others and write about issues that were important in my community and the world. I always wanted to be a person who could help bring change to this country and this world.

Now my ties to Lindenwold High School grow stronger, as I am able to travel to the inauguration with the current newspaper staff. I felt like a job in the political science field was not just the career for me, but more so a calling or vocation. But as I spoke with different older college graduates and evaluated their lives, I was scared that the public policy did not hold a promising future for me. I reconsidered and thought about other jobs, but nothing was right for me.

I entered Rutgers University interested in political science. I dismissed the claims that political science did not promise me a job after I graduated. Though I had faith in my ability to reach any goals, my faith grew stronger after learning the journey of Barack Obama.

My journey to the inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden is an experience I will treasure forever. This ceremony is representative of progress and enlightenment. People have looked past the color barriers that divided this country for many years. The efforts of Presidents such as Abraham Lincoln to unite this country have finally paid off many generations later. To see people from all walks of life united by one dream to see this country more prosperous and more united than ever before, has a very sacred and adored place in my heart. 

This journey for me represents a step toward seeing my own personal dreams become realistic and tangible.

Delaware is where my trip officially began to see Barack Obama. My name is April Astor and here you can follow my journey with Barack Obama. I live in Lindenwold, New Jersey and I attend the local high school as a freshman. My mom is now raising my brothers and sisters along with me, due to my father’s passing. I started to write for the school’s newspaper and politics has always been an interest of mine. For my first article for the school paper, I wrote about some of the reasons people were voting for Obama. My teachers were impressed with my article and decided to see if we could go and see Obama in Delaware and maybe even Washington D.C. for the inauguration. We were thrilled when we were told we could go to both. Please follow my journey to Washington D.C. as I meet many people anxiously waiting for this glorious moment in history.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 1/19/09

What a long day it has been. It took us a few hours to get up to Gettysburg. When we finally did we went straight to the Gettysburg Visitor Center.

It was quite amazing. It was a museum and we saw a lot while there. One thing that we saw was a short clip titled “A New Birth of Freedom.” It told how the Civil War was started, how bad the south depended on slavery and more.

Afterwards we saw a cyclorama, with the Battle of Gettysburg. It used the painting to tell the story about the Battle of Gettysburg. The sound effects and sight was amazing. Paul Philippoteaux did an amazing job on the painting.

 When both the movie and cyclorama was over we took a tour around. We saw the guns they used and medals as well. Original letters, uniforms, and amazing paintings could also be found.

Today was just an amazing day and I cannot wait for tomorrow.

Wilmington Delaware 1/17/09:

The beginning of our journey started when we went to see Obama get off the Amtrak train and meet with Joe and Jill Biden in Wilmington, DE.

Now many of you might be asking why would I go off with teachers and a few other students to see two politicians on a Saturday? I can only ask myself, why not? This is part of history and we are so lucky to live so close to it. I remember in history class, when I was younger, learning about all these amazing things people did and thought to myself, 'What if I could have been there? What if I could have been there to witness George Washington getting sworn into office? Or what if I could have met Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, women fighting for  our rights, Martin Luther King Jr. any of those people and could have been a part of history?' I never thought that day would come, but on January 17th it did.

So we arrived in Delaware and the lines were long! It was freezing and my toes started to become numb but other than that I managed to stay pretty warm. White security tents were set up and we went through, then made our way down Market Street to join the rest of the crowd.

Once I passed security it’s as if I entered a whole new world. An American flag was in the middle of the street and It was big enough to cover it's entire length, which it did. I went up and took a picture with it and touched the flag that was standing there waiting for Barack Obama.

While standing with the crowd, a gentlemen came up to us and asked if we wanted to sit in the bleachers behind the podium where Obama was speaking! As you can imagine we greatly accepted! I was stunned, couldn’t believe it, and just knew we must have been in the right place at the right time.

We waited for hours to see Barack Obama, moving around to try and keep warm in the frigid cold temperature. First, Joe and Jill Biden came and greeted the crowd and spoke to the nation right in front of me! Then Barack and Michelle Obama came out. I was so close to him! When I saw him it was like a character from one of my favorite books came up and greeted me. It was unbelievable!

Now do you remember that girl chomping on the gum right next to Biden and Obama? Well, that girl was me. Trust me, I usually don’t chew like that but with all of the excitement and in order to keep my mind off of the fact that my feet might have to be amputated because they were frozen, I decided to keep my warmth and excitement by taking it out on my gum.

I stood there listening to Barack Obama speak live! It was not on television, or in an internet clip, but live! It was unbelievable. He spoke and every word he said was amazing.

My two favorite quotes were, “When we Americans get knocked down we always, always manage to get back up on our feet.” As well as, “We will fight for you every single say we are in Washington because Joe and I are committed to leading a government that is accountable not just for the wealthy or the well connected but for you!”

After that he went around and started to shake people’s hands and one of them was mine! That moment made my life.

And now I am so excited to follow President-elect Barack Obama on his journey to the White House, so please follow us on our journey to Washington D.C. as we all witness history.

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