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UNCP watches President Obama take office

By Wade Allen, Managing Editor, and Kayla Pearson, Around the Town Editor. Photo by Jessica Knapton

Obama inauguration

On Jan. 20 at 10:45 a.m., as snow flurried around and festered on the ground, a small group of 35 people formed in the U.C. to watch what is being called an historic event, the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama.

The bash, which was broadcast live on all major news networks, was shown on a big projection screen to students, faculty and staff of the University.

It was put together by the Student Government Association which had been planning the event since last semester.

Audience

"Student government is just happy we could provide a venue where students could watch and share in the experience of this historic event," SGA President Hannah Simpson said.

Despite the snow, the crowd grew to 75 students at noon when President Obama took the oath of office in front of over 2 million people that had assembled in the national mall in Washington, D.C.

Entertainers such as Itzhak Perlman and Aretha Franklin performed in the inaugural ceremony and Rev. Joseph Lowery delivered the benediction. Rev. Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," gave the invocation.

Students in the U.C. watched as rare occurrences unfolded on the screen, such as all former presidents and vice presidents assembling to witness history.

Before the oath Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, George H.W. and Barbara Bush and Bill and Hillary Clinton took their seats next to the podium. Former vice presidents Mondale, Gore and Quayle arrived, accompanied by their wives.

Celebrities such as Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon and Muhammad Ali could be seen in the crowd.

As time neared for the presidential oath of office, the U.C. became mute as they listened to Chief Justice John Roberts swear-in Barack Obama.

Upon the last words of the oath, the crowd assembled in the U.C. leaped to their feet in celebration as people clapped and cheered.

"I feel some authentic pride," sophomore Cordero Powell said.

"I feel excited because I'm here to watch history in making," sophomore Krishana Santiago added. "I can tell my children and grandchildren I was here to watch the history of the first black president and the first cute president take office," she continued.

There were many reasons members of the crowd choose the U.C. to see the historic moment unfold.

Some were invited by the SGA President.

"The wonderful SGA President Hannah Simpson confronted me on campus and told me to come to the U.C. to see our first ever black president be inaugurated as our 44th president," junior Lamar Courmon said.

Student reactions

"It makes me proud to be an African American in the U.S. and to know that the glass ceiling has finally been broken," he added.

Another group fell in the category of being in the place around that time. They were either in the U.C. hanging out or coming from the cafe.

"I was going to eat lunch when I head about the inauguration bash and figured why not watch.

"Plus it's very important and historical. I feel like I'm a part of something bigger," Toni Bryan said.

Despite having different reasons for coming, the crowd was united in their watching.

Their actions gave the impression that the bash was a success.

"The bash went great. There was a lot of participation.

Overall there were approximately 135 students. People were walking in and out so it was hard to get an overall count.

There was a lot enthusiasm overall. People were standing up cheering. I was really pleased. It met my expectations," Simpson said.

Although many took the time to pause and watch the two hour affair, there were some who did not waiver in their daily activities.

Dispute

Snow took precedence over the inaugural procedure for those who chose to spend the day of no classes outside in the white playground.

Others gathered at the back U.C. televisions and played their video games.

At one point this group and those watching the inauguration got into a small disagreement over the volume levels of the televisions, but the situation was quickly handled.

Those watching the inaugural address listened intently with looks of hope and promise as President Obama spoke of the former president, recession, work to come and restoring faith in the government.

New President

However, as soon as the new president thanked the country and uttered his closing remark of "And God bless the United States America," the crowd quickly dispersed to resume their daily lives.

For many this was to partake in the massive snowball fight that had already begun outside the U.C. windows.

The historical merit of the day mixed with the fun in the snow outside made the day a true remembrance.

"This is better than Christmas," Junior Akiyah McGhie said.

 

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Updated: January 22, 2009
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