updated 1/8/2009 4:53:24 PM ET 2009-01-08T21:53:24
FirstPerson

I decided to attend the inauguration because there are so few enlightening historic events these days, events filled with hope and power and dreams for a better world. I turned 30

Submitted by Michele Moore
during this past election season and realized I was about to see the first truly empowering event of my lifetime. I have missed so many others because of being part of a different generation. To have lived in the 1960s, when people were fighting for a better world, whether it was African-Americans working for equality, hippies working for freedom of the mind, or those against the misguided war in Vietnam. It was a time filled with the belief that one could actually make a difference.

My generation grew up in materialistic 1980s under the shadow of the Baby Boomers. We were the beginning of the subdued young. Now, to see actual proof that we can make a difference — all of us together — is a beautiful sight to see. Obama may not live up to expectations, but his win alone has inspired unknown numbers of people. If it includes me, then it includes who knows how many younger people who now will take a stand and fight for their dreams. I did not want to miss this moment history. To say I was there...that is something I will cherish forever. — Michele Moore in North Hollywood, California

You betcha! To quote an ex-VP candidate: I am going to be in Washington D.C., January 20,

Submitted by Ed Laake
2009! I wouldn't miss this doubly historic moment — the first Black President inaugurated the day after the holiday for my hero, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Sarasota, my very conservative town — for the first time in a long time — voted 50 percent for the Democratic presidential ticket, so we know many people from all parties want this new president to succeed. This is the beginning of a new era of hope and truth-telling in these trying times. It is also a time to celebrate this beautiful new first family! — Ed Laake in Sarasota, Florida

Submitted by Angie Manteiga
My husband and I are going to the inauguration. We own and operate an eighty-seven-year-old tri-lingual newspaper in Tampa, Florida — probably the oldest family owned and operated small weekly in the country. We have been fighting for our community and Democrats all our lives. For the first time in a really long time we feel someone has listened. Someone has listened not just to what our needs are, but to the needs of our Hispanic community, our whole community, and has decided to put the people first. It makes me proud to be an American. We will be traveling with our 2 best friends, sharing a room in Baltimore. We have seats for the inaugration thanks to our Congresswoman, and will be attending the Florida Ball with hopes of an invite to the Southern Ball. — Angie Manteiga in Tampa, Florida

My sister and I decided to go to Washington D.C. for the inauguration after discussing what a huge historical moment and emotional experience it would be. On the night of the election and in the days that followed, I couldn't turn on the news or go online without seeing the pictures and videos of Election Day. The raw emotion and celebration that we witnessed still has an effect on me even two months later. I couldn't stop watching the videos of people crying and yelling in happiness. Every "reaction" picture that I saw on TV, online or in the paper made me want to be a part of this historical event in any way that I could. I have followed this campaign and election more closely than I ever thought I would, and was truly inspired by what I saw happening around the country. I am so glad I will be able to tell my son that I was there on this important day, that I saw it with my own eyes. This inauguration will be a celebration that I want to witness first-hand — maybe I'll be one of the testimonials in the news, or the pictures online might be of me and my reaction to witnessing Barack Obama being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. — Erin Watterson in Eastampton, New Jersey

When I was about 5 years old, my mother took me down to the polls with her to vote: It's the first time I can remember anything about the political process in this country. She explained to me how the lever in the booth worked, what it meant, but unfortunately I was a little girl and a little bit indiscreet, so I thought it was perfectly alright to loudly ask, "Mommy, is everybody voting for Jesse Jackson like you?"

It is now many years later, and for the first time I got to see what my mother said was possible and what my teachers told me of Dr. King's dream, I got to see it all come true. For me and for my generation it will mean our vote counting for something for the first time at last. For blacks it will mean shattering a barrier for good, and for my country's future it could mean a momentum that shall change the course of history. For these reasons, I want to watch Barack Obama get sworn in as president. — Mary Katherine Goode in Duxbury, Massachusetts

I will join the celebration because it symbolizes the greatness of this nation...that here in

Submitted by Orchid Tunaya
America, we strive to hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. i am minority, a filipino born but I thank the people and the founding fathers of this nation for making this country a better place to live! Seeing the inaugauration will forever be an inspiration to me. — Orchid Tunaya in Yorktown, Virginia

Our interracial family of six is embarking from our home in Seattle to Washington D.C. because we "want to be in that number" when President-elect Barack Obama is sworn into office. Although we have no tickets for the ceremony or any of the balls, we are nonetheless going, and at the suggestion of our family's newest voter. Our eldest son turned 18 in late September, just in time to cast his very first

Submitted by Jennifer Delanty
The Delanty family.
vote on November 4. What a thrilling election it was! How could my husband and I say anything but "yes we can" on Election Night when our son made his inauguration wish known? Along with my husband and myself, our two daughters and two sons, ages 13, 15, 18 and 20, will be living witnesses to this historical day.

When our first child was born back in 1988, we did not envision that our children would find in 2009 a president who also had a white mother and black father, just like them. To paraphrase Langston Hughes, "they too sing America." It is very meaningful to us that our family witnesses and celebrates this important and triumphant moment in our nation's history. We are also thrilled that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be celebrated one day before the Inauguration because we are the children and grandchildren of Dr. King's extraordinary vision. To be part of the multitude that will gather and celebrate this auspicious occasion is a memory all six of us will undoubtedly cherish for the rest of our lives. — Jennifer Delanty in Seattle, Washington

I will be attending the Obama inauguration along with my friend Gail Rathbun. I called our Oregon Congressman DeFasio's office asking for tickets. They let me know that there would be many requests for these tikets but that my name would be on a list. On December 23, 2008 I was sent an e-mail stating that they put in over 1,000 names for a chance of getting drawn

Submitted by Cheryl Coffey
for the 198 tickets and that I was one of the names drawn! Imagine my excitement! My husband and I are in our 60s and have never canvassed or gone out of our way — except for money donations — for any one canditate but we were out every weekend. In the last week before the election we were out every day canvassing for this very promising Barack Obama.

I am so honored to be able to attend this historical event and am very optomistic that this president will lead us back to our true American roots. I never really expected to get tickets but Gail and I planned on being there anyway and we set up room reservations and flights even before he won the election. Being drawn for the tickets was a very big plus. I'm taking my camera and will take pictures until my hands play out, so we'll have plenty to share with you after I get back home. — Cheryl Coffey in North Bend, Oregon

My daughter Meg and I are heading to the inauguration. Meg is a senior at West Memphis High School and I am the executive director of our local arts council. A lifelong yellow dog Democrat, I am thrilled that both Meg and her older brother John have followed in my footsteps. Both were overjoyed when Obama won. I understand and share their enthusiasm. My sister has a photo taken of my grandmother at Truman's inauguration. I plan on reproduciing it and framing it with a picture of Meg and me taken during the Inauguration. I will entitle it "Happy Days are Here Again." Can't wait! — Barbara Fields in Manteca, California

I will be going to the inauguration. I was happily suprised when I got an e-mail from my

Submitted by Keesha Williams
Senator's office saying that I was given two tickets. I have made phone calls for the Obama team and made donations. I just knew I wanted to go and see history take place. This past year has been an emotional year for voters like myself, and there were times when I thought he wouldn't win, but he made it. Everytime I think about it, I cry from just the overwhelming feelings of joy and pride. So watching his swearing-in will definitely start off my new year right. — Keesha Williams in Bear, Delaware

I've attended every inauguration since President Reagan's 2nd term when it was so bitterly cold they opted to take the ceremony inside. My daughter has come along since 2000, and it has now evolved into a family tradition. Although this year will be one for the history books, the transition of presedential power — along with the pomp and circumstance surrounding the event — is a testimonial to the strength of our democracy, and to view the swearing in ceremony live is simply taking an active part of history. Despite the predictions of 5 million descending upon Washington D.C. — regardless of the costs involved — my daughter and I will be amongst the 240,000 people on the grounds of the Capitol cheering on our new President. — Paul Laska in Williston, Vermont

Submitted by Pat Donahue
A portion of the Donahue family.
I feel like I need to be there in person, because I never thought this day would come in my lifetime. My hope was that my daughters would live long enough to see the time when a person's color did not define him. I am so excited that we Americans could overcome prejudice, and I have to be a witness. I am taking my two adult daughters so they can be part of history. This day will be remembered and talked about for generations. — Pat Donahue in Meadville, Pennsylvania

Yes, I will be attending this historical event. The week of January 15-20 will be very symbolic and always memorable. Dr. King's official birthday (January 15), my birthday (January 16) and Barack Obama's swearing-in on January 20 will be the icing on the cake. Although I was not lucky enough to get tickets to see the event up close and personal, I am looking forward to being somewhere on the grounds of the White House along with my fiancé, sister, friends and the millions of others! Stay tuned, I will keep you posted when we return. — Karen White in Ellenwood, Georgia

Yes, I'm going with a friend to the inauguration. It just means a lot to me, being an African-Amercian who was raised in North Carolina 65 years ago. I have seen a lot of segregrationin my life. We had to pass white schools to get to our school, which was fifteen miles away. We had to go into back doors of resturant to order food, and weren't allow to go in the front. There were some places we weren't allowed to enter at all. It just means a lot to me attending this as a citizen of the United States of America. I am now proud to be an American. — Charles Warren in Baltimore, Maryland

Yes, I plan to attend the inauguration. In my lifetime there has been no event as significant as this, that I have been able to be a part of. Who wouldn't want to have seen Washington cross

Submitted by Daryel Miller
the Delaware River, or watch the signing of the Constitution? I'll get to see the first African-American ever to be sworn in as president. The U.S. has always led the way in creating civilized environments — we excel at it. That's why our military is present in so many places around the world, isn't it? To establish an atmosphere of civilized behavior, where free people can have the peace and security necessary to be able to thrive and prosper as nature intended, as God intended.

This magnificent country, by the voice and vote of a majority of its people, has decided to put racism — which is fear-based and very uncivilized — behind it in favor of hope for its future. Hope beats racism any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. I love America, and I am proud of her for taking this step, and I fully intend to be there on that day. I don't even have a room reserved, or a ticket, but I'm still going to drive up from South Carolina, watch and cheer the historic event from the closest spot I can get to, and then drive home. And you know what? This is only the beginning. — Daryel Miller in Rock Hills, South Carolina

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