|Metro Atlanta residents head to Capitol for inauguration, sightseeing and feasts|
|Written by Valerie J. Morgan|
Droves from metro Atlanta are headed to Washington, D.C. to witness President Barack Obama take the oath of office for a second, four-year term. The 57th Presidential Inauguration will be held on Monday, the National King Holiday.
Some like DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May and his wife, Robin, are already in D.C.
“We are here! We’re kid free!,” exclaimed Robin May, as they drove in and hit the town. “It’s beautiful, cold and sunny.”
Lee May said they are staying at a bed and breakfast about eight blocks from the Capitol. They plan to attend several events, including the National Conference of Mayors later this evening and of course, the inauguration on Monday. The couple say they will be joined by Lee May’s parents, Rev. Lee and Dianne May, who are making the trip from Houston.
“When we attended the President’s first inauguration, Robin was 6 months pregnant. After standing in the cold for eight hours, she just couldn’t take it. We had to go back to the hotel room and watch the inauguration from there.”
Conyers resident Tisa Smart Washington, former chair of the Rockdale Democratic Party, said she and a friend, Nicole Jackson of Henry County, are making the trip as “road warriors.”
“It’s a 9-hour drive but we’re looking forward to it. We plan to stop and take lots of pictures,” said Washington. “I’m just looking forward to being a part of history. This will be the last time that you’ll be able to see the first black President being sworn. You won’t have that opportunity again.”
Washington said attending the inauguration validates the Democratic Party’s hard work in Rockdale, where President Obama led, along with eight black Democrats who became the first in the county’s 160-year history elected to office.
“We worked so hard to get him (President Obama) re-elected. This will be confirmation that we worked for something life changing,”
Stone Mountain residents Gregory B. Levett and his wife, Betty, say this inauguration will be the second time they have witnessed President Obama be sworn in. They are leaving over the weekend.
“We are looking forward to attending the inauguration and the Georgia Democratic Ball,” said Gregory Levett, who said they also plan to attend some events held by the National 100 Black Men, a mentoring organization for youths.
Tucker residents Adrienne and DeRamus Ware are taking their kids, Cameron, 11, and Taylor, with them to D.C. The family will be joined by another couple who also are taking their kids on the trip.
“We’re leaving today. We have lots of activities planned for the whole weekend,’ said Adrienne Ware, who said the two families plan to watch the inauguration from the National Mall.
“We couldn’t get eight tickets to get into the ceremony, so we will be on the mall. We plan to take the kids to the King Memorial, eat at Phillips Seafood and have fun at Lucky Strike sports bar and bowling alley.”
Phillips Seafood is a buffet offering more than 30 fresh seafood selections and an a la cart menu featuring their Phillips “famous jumbo lump crab cakes.”
The formal swearing-in ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m., followed by the inaugural parade. The inaugural ball takes place Monday evening at the Washington Convention Center.
Georgia State University’s 3-year-old marching band will be performing in the parade. GSU was among more than 2,800 bands that applied to participate.
President Obama will be sworn in by placing his hand on the same bible that Abraham Lincoln used in his inauguration in 1861. President Obama also will use the bible that the the late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., used during his travels.
Ackworth resident Gordon Ponsford helped restore the King bible that will be used . A conservator, Ponsford used adhesives to reattach lose leather on the bible. Ponsford has restored plenty of pieces of history including President Kennedy’s inaugural speech and his tomb at Arlington National Cemetery near D.C. On Saturday, Ponsford will clean King’s tomb at the MLK Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta.
Congressman Hank Johnson, who serves the Fourth Congressional District serving parts of DeKalb, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties, said the King Holiday will have even more special meaning this year.
“It is not lost on me that as we celebrate the accomplishments of Dr. King on Monday, we also inaugurate in Washington, D.C. our great President Barack Obama to his second term. Never has an American embodied so perfectly the teachings and aspirations of Dr. King as has President Obama.”
By the Numbers: The 57 Presidential Inauguration
50,000 volunteers have signed up
28,000 groups have requested applications to march in the parade
2,000 recycling bins on the National Mall
21 feet is the height of the jumbotrons on Natinal Mall
2013 Presidential Inaugural Commission