- Home >
McHenry attends inauguration
Spirit of cameraderie impressed her
Like many who traveled to participate in the Obama inaugural celebration Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Trine University’s Deborah McHenry found that even a ticket couldn’t get her near enough to see the historic swearing in of America’s first African-American president.
But the spirit of camaraderie she witnessed among those gathered for the landmark event made the crowds, the cold, the walking, and the waiting all worth it. After taking a charter bus to a shuttle bus and then walking for hours to the area for purple ticket holders, she and her group encountered a line of 2,000 waiting to enter the area. After a long wait, it became obvious that entry would be impossible, so they watched the ceremony on an iPod and public monitors.
Nonetheless, “I will never forget it and I’m glad I did it,” McHenry said. Americans, some of them handicapped or carrying children, endured the cold, the waiting, and the walking just to experience the historic moment. “We walked on the expressway, which was closed, and through a tunnel to finally find the area for the purple tickets. If you could have seen the thousands of us walking through that tunnel just to get there—people in wheelchairs, on respirators, people with babies, all walking, and it was cold,” she said. “We knew we weren’t going to see anything, but it was history and everybody wanted to be a part of it.”
A spirit of humanity seemed to wash through the event, she said. “The people got up on the buses and let older people and children sit down in a true spirit of camaraderie. The support police were so nice, polite, and helpful,” she said. Even those headed to the balls at the convention center caught the spirit. “People dressed for the ball were greeting us, and they usually don’t speak to you,” she said.
She brought back some physical souvenirs—“a program and the purple ticket that didn’t get me in,” she said—but the spirit of unity she witnessed was the real emblem of the experience.