Witnessing history: The inauguration of President Barack Obama

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By Robin Bass

Before he headed off to Washington, D.C. Monday morning, Dr. Charles Burton said he was uncertain how much of the Presidential Inauguration he would be able to witness. Some estimates have placed the number of people wanting to be a part of the historical event of upwards to two million. Burton said his hopes were to at least catch a glimpse of the parade as Barack Obama marched his way into being America’s first black president.

“I don’t know if we will get close enough,” said Burton, “but just to be in the city for that moment is reason enough to go.”

While most Americans resolved to watch the event unfold on television, Burton climbed onto a bus Monday morning and set out with a group from Harrods Creek Baptist Church for the 10-hour drive to the nation’s Capitol. The pastor of Taylorsville’s Second Baptist Church said it was important for him to be a part of the momentous occasion and be among the throngs of people.

“The night after the (presidential) election, I cried,” said Burton. “I didn’t think I’d see this in my lifetime, or even in my son’s lifetime.”

Spencer Countians Trent and Jackie DeRudder said it was because of their boys that arrangements were made for a father and sons trip to the inauguration.

“I want them to see how anything is possible in our nation and that anybody can be president,” said Jackie DeRudder.

Trent DeRudder and his three sons, Jacob, 11, Cole, 9 and Wyatt, 8, left for Washington, D.C. Friday night. Their plans were to stay at a nearby campground and utilize the Capitol’s subway for transportation to inaugural events and area attractions.

“We are going to be bumping elbows with a lot of people,” said Trent DeRudder of the crowds he anticipated throughout their four-day stay.

His hopes were that the boys would not only experience a lesson in civics, but also carry with them the lifetime memory of witnessing a historic event – much like those who remember hearing Martin Luther King, Jr. speak or the inauguration of John F. Kennedy, Jr.

“I think it is something they will remember forever,” said Trent DeRudder.