Locals talk about their inaugural experience

January 20, 2009 9:11:41 PM PST
For many of the witnesses, the experience was akin to a pilgrimage, a defining moment for our country, for us as Americans and even the world."I witnessed a piece of history today and I can tell my grandkids and kids about this when I get old," said Shane Roberts of Cherry Hill.

They had braved the cold for hours, standing shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers.

"We generated enough electricity that we were able to keep each other warm, as cold as it was," said Leanon Trawrck who lives in Mt. Pocono.

Peter McGinnis of Merion Station said, "I got a sense that everybody was just partying and having a good sense that this was truly history."

And hours later, as they came home from Washington, they were still savoring what they had just witnessed.

"I remember Jim Crow and just the whole effect that it had on the black race and just to see the country get to the point where we can erase the color lines at least for that moment, it was just great," reflected Linda Brown of Lafayette Hill.

Darla LaSure of Sicklerville agreed, "It was extraordinary, and it was peaceful and it was calm and it was just a wonderful feeling."

"I thought that we were all gathered as one together," said Roberts.

"And I love the call from Barack Obama that we all got to come together and pull this country together," recalled Marvin Byrd from the Northeast.

"Black, White, Asian, whatever your culture is," Roberts said.

"And I think we can do it," said Byrd.

And some were mindful that many around the world were witnessing what they had just seen and hope that they conclude as they have, that this is a whole new day for America and the world.

"That we're invested in the humanity of the "world people" and I think that Obama is a "world people" and he represents that to all of us who wish to be the same," said Ricardo Khan of Hoboken.

For the rest of Tuesday night and for a lifetime they have earned the right to say 'I was there'.

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