January 19, 2013

Locals eager to see Obama take oath

Charles Oliver

— President Barack Obama takes the oath of office for the second time on Monday.

“That’s something that all Americans should be proud of,” said Murray County Democratic Party Chairwoman Elizabeth Gould. “No matter what party you belong to or what candidate you voted for, we got to elect our president. People in some countries can’t say that.”

Gould is among several local residents who will join the 900,000 to 1 million people expected to descend on the nation’s capital to witness the inauguration of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

“We are driving up Sunday, going to the inauguration on Monday and coming back on Tuesday,” she said.

She’ll be joined by her sister, Camilla Springfield, and her grandson, Leo Holt, as well as Russell Martin, a former student of Springfield.

Gould says this will be the second inauguration she has attended. The first was President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration.

“For that inauguration, we stood behind a big tree. We didn’t see a whole lot, but it was still exciting. We were still witnessing history,” she said. “Everyone was excited. Most of the people there are going to be people who supported the person who was elected. They are happy that their candidate won. They are in a party mood. It’s like a community coming together.”

Gould actually has an invitation to Monday’s event. But she says that really doesn’t give her any special treatment.

“This one actually came to my husband. He’s the 14th Congressional District Democratic Party chair. But it’s really just a commemorative thing. We still have to get tickets,” she said.

Since all government offices will be closed, she’s arranged for a family member living in the Washington, D.C., area to pick up tickets from Rep. Tom Graves’ office.

This will be the first time Springfield has attended an inauguration, and she says she’s looking forward to the trip.

“Each inauguration is a historic event. Even if there’s a million people there, that’s still a small amount compared to the total population. It’s exciting to be one of those people,” she said.

While Springfield and Gould will be traveling in a small group, Whitfield County residents Pat Gross and Adrian Ludy have organized a group of about 50 who plan to travel to the capital for the inauguration, many from Hopewell Baptist Church in Dalton. They will be leaving tonight.

“We wanted to give the community a chance to witness this,” Ludy said.

They will be going to the event without tickets.

“There is an area for people without tickets. That’s the section we will be in,” Gross said.

It will be the second time Ludy has attended an inauguration. He attended Obama’s first inauguration four years ago. But it will be the first time Gross has attended an inauguration.

“I love President Obama. I have supported him, and I love what he stands for. I’m just excited to be there in person. I wanted to be there four years ago, but I got sick and couldn’t go,” said Gross.

It will also be the first inauguration for Wilma Gibson, who will be joining them on the trip.

“I have been to Washington twice before, but I’ve never had the opportunity to go to an inauguration. I’m a supporter of President Obama, and when Pat told me about this trip I wanted to be part of it. I wanted to be part of history,” said Gibson.

All three said they are especially glad that the inauguration coincided with the celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.

“Nothing like this has happened before. And we don’t know if it will happen again,” Gross said. “I’m just so excited I’m going to be there. I know the word of God says to be anxious for nothing. But I’m not anxious. I’m just so excited and eager to say ‘I was there.’”