Diverse Crowd Joins Obama to Celebrate During Inaugural Parade
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2013 Masses of people from around the globe converged in the nation's capital yesterday to witness President Barack Obama’s inauguration and the celebrations that followed.
Army Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, center, commander of the Military District of Washington, leads his staff as they march in the 57th Inaugural Parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013. DOD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Thousands of people lining Pennsylvania Avenue braved the cold for a brief glimpse of President Barack Obama and to enjoy the musical and marching units that accompanied the president from the Capitol to the White House.
Tracy Marie, who traveled from Southwest Ranches, Fla., made the trip up from the Sunshine State to watch the parade, was grateful for the few precious glimpses of Obama.
“This was a last-minute thing, so for us it was fantastic,” she said. “We ended up right up front, and he was really close. It was all of two minutes, but it was exciting and amazing. I'm really glad we came.”
“We spent about two and half to three hours waiting,” said David Jones, her traveling partner, adding that the wait was worthwhile.
“I mean how many times is he going to be 100 feet away from us?” he asked. “There was an energy in the stands.”
Marie said she enjoyed the camaraderie of other cordial parade-goers as they all anxiously awaited the president's arrival.
“Everybody was just nice; everybody was talking,” she said. “There were people behind us from Chicago, Wisconsin, Philadelphia -- just everywhere.”
Jones, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native, described the energy.
“We were all really, really excited,” he said. “We were a little disappointed, because we saw him down [there] where he actually got out of the car, and there were a couple ladies behind me who were saying, 'Oh my God, please let him get out' and 'If he gets out I'm going to pass out -- I'm going to just die. I hope I can stand it,' so everybody was just so excited.”
When the president passed by “you just felt blessed to be here for it,” Jones said. “So the waiting, the cold -- I'm mean we're from Florida -- it was 82 [degrees] when we left home. Yeah, it's cold, but it's well worth it.”
Ndo Osias, a native of the Congo who now resides in Maryland, said he has been able to see both of Obama's inaugurations.
“It's an event that's full of pomp and circumstance,” he said. “Like the president mentioned in his speech, it's a transition from one elected leader to another, and it's very impressive to see a mix of history and modernity.
“You've got the troops that were dressed like they used to dress a couple of hundred years ago,” Osias continued. “You have the modern troops, you have, essentially, all the might of the United States represented in the presence of its leaders, as well as we the people here. I think it's truly impressive, and I'm very honored and deeply happy to see, with my own eyes, the president so close.”
Osias said this was the “main event” for him, since he spent the day prior ensuring he had the tickets to attend, since he had some friends going with him.
“Four years ago, I was fortunate enough to do the same thing,” he said. “And compared to four years ago, I think it's as great -- if not better. I mean how many times do you get to see the president twice?
“I have three of my good friends who made the special trip from Belgium, and another good friend of mine who made the trip from Lancaster, Pennsylvania,” Osias added. “So we're all here to support our president.”