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A witness to history

Posted: February 2, 2009 9:07 p.m.
Updated: February 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Robleh Farah visits Washington, D.C., to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

 

WASHINGTON D.C. - Barack Obama did solemnly swear to carry out his new position faithfully Jan. 20, 2009, before a crowd of more than one million supporters on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

The air was cold (28 degrees) but the atmosphere was warm. The streets lacked elbow room as the crowd tried to edge ever closer, just a foot or so farther to catch a glimpse of their hero. The metro station was stuffed with men and women from all different backgrounds and nationalities as they all cramped to see this historic, unprecedented, peaceful transfer of power.

Smashed against the glass of the train was Garrett Mackay.

"I'm originally from Utah - a town called Provo with about 100,000 people," he said. "I'm here for two years in Virginia spreading a Mormon message and while I'm here I might as well see the greatest event in the last 50 years."

The days leading up to the inauguration were cold and snowy. The crowd generally slept for a couple hours, waking up in the middle of the night to the icy, stinging feeling on their fingers. The lucky ones had chairs, and the people soon demanded Obama by screaming his name. All the stars came, from the former presidents who are still alive to stars from Hollywood.

Hours of standing and watching the immense screens broadcasting the event eagerly in front of the Capitol Building left the crowd hungry for entertainment. In an attempt that went off without a hitch to grab the crowd, they replayed the inaugural concert from earlier that week with stars from Bono to Garth Brooks.

It didn't bother Darrell Tyree.

"I was back there when it was segregated in my class, for we were the first ones to start integrating, the fact that we have now seen change is for the better," he said.

The first to take the oath was Vice President Joe Biden, who was met with applause as he took his very own oath of office and as the supporters died down, off in the distance through the dark door the figure of a man appeared, the figure of a new dawn, of a new America, of a new day.

The crowd was in uproar for this man as an ocean of flags waved gracefully, images of inspiration came to life, and as Supreme Court Justice John Roberts swore in this man on Lincoln's historic Bible.

Barack Obama, satisfied, was home at last.

Robleh Farah is a 13-year-old, eight-grader at Rancho Pico Junior High School.

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