As President Barack Obama took the oath of office in Washington, Bristol resident Laura Minor cried, danced, sang and cheered from the middle of the massive crowd splayed out in front of the U.S. Capitol.
She said she felt “the most amazing spirit that you could ever imagine” all around her as Obama spoke for the first time as the 44th president of the United States.
Both Laura Minor and her husband, city Councilor Craig Minor, spent the past few days in the nation’s capital to celebrate the passage of power to the country’s first black president, a Democrat who promised change.
Craig Minor said the crowds were so “incredibly dense” that even though they arrived on the Capitol grounds before 6 a.m., they nearly didn’t make it into the section in front of the stage for which they held tickets.
Around them were people from across America – a minister from Texas, Native Americans in headdresses, singer Mariah Carey, Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson and many more.
“There were all these people from all walks of life,” Craig Minor said.
Laura Minor said they took turns taking photographs of each other, caught up in the joy of the moment.
When the band played Stars and Stripes Forever, she said she joined three strangers as they started swinging each other around in giddy dance.
“America was on its best behavior,” she said, despite the crush and the cold.
When Obama addressed the crowd after taking oath of office, Laura Minor said, “I was so moved. I cried. I cheered.”
“It was just magnificent,” she said.
When the ceremony came to a close at the Capitol, the crowds left quickly and quietly, Laura Minor said.
When former President George W. Bush’s helicopter lifted off from the Capitol grounds to whisk him off to the airport for his flight home to Texas, Laura Minor looked up.
“We waved goodbye at his helicopter,” she said.
Feeling quite cold and hungry, Laura Minor said they were “going to get some food and go home” to Connecticut, skipping the parade and leaving aside any fancy balls.
“We were here,” she said through a fading cell phone. “And that’s what counts.”
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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