On Jan. 14, Denisonians joined the crowd in Washington, D.C. for Obama’s second term inauguration. These students were full of pride and excitement as they became part of the great presence in D.C. and played a role in the historical narrative of the United States.
Teddy Jones, a freshman majoring in environmnetal science from Columbus, Ohio, was among the few Denisonians in D.C. Although it was a chilly January day and his trip was planned at the last minute, Jones said the inauguration was “fantastic” and “absolutely worth attending.” Jones distinguished watching the inauguration on television from physically attending the ceremony, saying, “There was definitely an unique presence that you noticed that was different from watching it on T.V. The collective experience was the most notable for me.” At the inauguration, Jones felt a powerful energy and presence knowing that 90 percent of the people attending the inauguration were there for the same reason he was.
Similarly, freshman Yusuf Ahmed, an international studies and communications major from Columbus, touched upon what Jones described as a “unique experience and energy that you just feel,” saying, “being in the presence of the inauguration itself, was amazing.” Ahmed added, “For me, just being around the people who had the same motives to attend the event was inspirational.”
Though he did admit he did not enjoy the aftermath of the inauguration, with crowds impatiently trying to catch the metro and shouting and shoving from every direction almost to the point of igniting a riot, Ahmed was nevertheless glad to be a part of this chaotic group. He felt it was important to attend the inauguration, because “just by being there you are making history, and it makes a difference to say that you were actually part of that historical moment in time.”
His most memorable moment during the inauguration was when he turned around to savor the sight behind Capitol Hill of “a couple hundred thousand people waving mini American flags.” “Attending the inauguration is a must,” Ahmed said, and he plans to one day “purchase front row seats and have the privilege of partaking in the entire inaugural experience by attending all the various events.”
Not only did the presence of the large, energetic crowd strike Ahmed as unforgettable, but the President’s speech will always stir his memory. Ahmed said, “Obama’s speech was great and very inspiring. A few people around me were tearing up at his speech. They were just shocked at how amazing and bold it was.”
Personally, the highlights for Ahmed include Obama’s call for immigration rights to minorities and his advocacy for LGBT groups that fired up the crowd. Jones commented, “Obama definitely didn’t let anyone down. He said exactly what needed to be said. In my opinion, he brought up specific social aspects such as LGBT and immigration issues in his speech that needed to be addressed.” A smile spreads across Jones’ face as he recalls his favorite line from Obama’s speech: “My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it- so long as we seize it together.”