Sisters travel to D.C. for inauguration

Ben Sadkowski/Staff Writer
For senior Sarah Halloran and sophomore Lauren Halloran, the experiences at Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., are not just remarkable. They are something they got to experience in person with their family. Just the experience of traveling there was unique.
“We didn’t need tickets to get into the actual inauguration. The problem was getting plane tickets and finding a place to stay. We somehow managed to find a flight (through Cedar Rapids and Cincinnati and Atlanta, with a five-hour layover) and my aunt works for NPR and has a house right in D.C., so we were able to stay with her. We were so lucky that we got to go at all,” Sarah said.

“My dad got plane tickets online and my aunt has a house in D.C. so that wasn’t a problem,” Lauren said.

Also, just the visual experience in D.C. was memorable.

“It was so much fun. There was so much energy and enthusiasm throughout the city. Obama was everywhere: on shirts, keychains, earrings, T.V. screens and in conversations. Everyone had a story to tell,” Sarah said.“It was really fun because people were really emotional and I didn’t know that people were so excited about Obama. People were so touched that they had tears running down their faces.

However, the experiences from D.C. ran far deeper than on just a visual level.
“Another surprising aspect was how friendly everyone was. Strangers would move over to make room on the already overcrowded metro, hold the door leaving a coffee shop or start up a conversation while waiting in line. I don’t know if I heard one rude comment my entire trip,” Sarah said.

Apart from the sights and sounds that stemmed from simply being in D.C., the actual inauguration was also a powerful event.
“I loved Obama’s speech. It wasn’t a feel-good speech; it brought to attention the problems we face and how we as a country must approach them. And although critics point out the lack of a ‘memorable quote’ in his speech, I don’t think his message will be forgotten any time soon,” she said.

One particular experience stands out in Sarah’s mind:
“As we were waiting at a crosswalk, a little, white dog ran up and jumped on my sister. The dog’s owner, an older couple, came up and apologized, but my dog-loving sister was already asking if she could pet him. This initiated a conversation, and I soon learned that the couple used to live next door to Obama. They named their dog Barry, after Barrack, when the dog broke free from his leash one day and peed on one of Barrack’s secret service agents. ‘I don’t think they liked Barry very much after that,’ the older lady said.”

Contradictory to popular belief, travel for some families was not as difficult as it seemed.
“Despite the five-hour layover, all the traveling was pretty simple. My favorite part was talking to the guys sitting next to me on the plane on the flight back home. They so badly wanted to attend the inauguration that, even though every hotel was booked and they had nowhere to stay, they came anyway and camped out in the mall in below zero weather,” Sarah said.
To Sarah, the significance of the inauguration is tremendous.

“Obviously, this event was historically significant due to the fact that Barrack Obama is our first African-American president. I think it is also significant because it brings so much hope to America. Right now, our country isn’t in great shape. We have a failing economy, terrible foreign relations and a miserable reputation. Many consider George W. Bush one of our worst presidents yet. Obama promises change. There has been so much hope invested in this election, we all hope the inauguration is the beginning of fulfilled promises and change for the better,” she said.

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