THE PEOPLE'S INAUGURATION
Nayaba Arinde | 4/12/2011, 4:40 p.m.
"End of an error--and the beginning of an era!" shouted Washingtonian resident and student Imani Johnson as Barack Obama placed his hand on Abraham Lincoln's bible and was sworn in as America's 44th president just after noon on Jan.20, 2009.
"I need to hug SOMEBODY!" bellowed a tall gentleman in a hunter's hat, and did so with an equally exuberant fellow spectator. Millions of people, wearing the winter catalog of every department store in the country, turned their eyes to the Capitol or the numerous Jumbotrons along the National Mall, and cheered as loudly when Obama first appeared as they booed when cameras flashed George Bush on the big screen.
In a scene reminiscent of Spike Lee's "Get on the Bus," a film about a group of men's journey to the 1995 Million Man March, wrapped up tight against the freezing January evening chill, 108 men, women and children boarded a bus parked outside Sista's Place in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, on Monday evening. The civil rights group the December 12th Movement had called together a number of people who often attended their various political and cultural forums to take another historic trip to Washington.
"I wanted to observe Black history in the making and be part of it," said Trinidadian Diane Cooper. "I wanted to experience the moment and interact with the crowd and see how they responded to what Barack Obama was saying."
With bated breath, a shivering audience of millions listened intently to just sworn- in President Obama's words, interjecting with raucous applause and shouts of approval intermittently. "On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord," the brand-new president said. And the crowd, they roared.
Detailing the economic crisis, governmental and personal responsibility on a variety of levels, Obama addressed his multiple constituencies, and touched on global problems of war, poverty, political favoritism and the need for worlwide cooperation. The resolution, he said, begins at home.
"This is the journey we continue today," he said. "Our capacity remains undiminished...Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America." "Preach, papa!" a lady shouted.
"That's MY president," a man responded!
Soon after cheering on a military helicopter as it took ex-president George Bush and his family away to Texas, exhausted but exhilarated travelers who had been up since before dawn made their way to the parade or home. "It was good," said Adrian, 21, from San Antonio, Texas.
"This was my first time voting, and I did it because it was time for a change. President Obama has inspired me to go get a job, because I wasn't going to. Now I am, "the young man, in town with his parents, told the AmNews.
"This was wonderful, he was wonderful," said proud Kenyan Lydia Nyagah. In from California to honor her countryman, she predicted, "He's going to do a good job. He's going to involve everybody. He is a child of the world."