Road Trip to History: An Inauguration

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The Chicago Sun-Times is chronicling the journey to Monday’s inauguration with the Frazier Family of Marquette Park, and blogging about it. Catch our first story in the series here.

At 11 a.m., sadness sets in, then anger. A rumble moves through the crowd. Just who was responsible for organizing this anyway? In their wisdom, they’ve placed only three stations at the general admission checkpoint. Three people entering at a time and being searched? What were they thinking?

Pamela keeps her chin up for the grandkids, as she tries to wrap her mind around the fact that this inauguration journey is about to end in disaster. How did this happen? The organizers had predicted the crowds would be significantly smaller this second time around, that the novelty factor had faded. It sure didn’t look like it as you pushed through the crowds and scanned the same multitudes here today on the National Mall.

“Did they do this on purpose?” Pamela wonders, as she looks behind her at the folks who clearly will not witness this inauguration, despite traveling from far and wide. “Did they not want so many people out here?”

“This isn’t right,” another woman nearby complains, co-signed by a growing chorus of the frustrated.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, an angel appears, announcing the 5th Street entrance for ticket holders is now accepting general admission. No one moves, then some slowly give up their place in line.

The Fraziers debate, decide they have nothing to lose — no one here is getting in for hours. So they hike the two blocks to the John Marshall Plaza entrance.

At 11:35, five minutes into the 2013 inauguration ceremony, the Fraziers make it into this other gate, onto Pennsylvania Avenue, and scramble to a jumbotron….just in time to see Vice President Joe Biden, followed by U.S. President Barack

Obama, take oaths of office….with a little James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce in between.

[View the story “Road trip to history: From Chicago to the Obama inaugurations” on Storify]Road trip to history: From Chicago to the Obama inaugurationsChicago Sun-Times reporter Maudlyne Ihejirika chronicled the Frazier family four years ago as they traveled from Chicago to see President Obama take office. In 2013, she made the trip with them again to see what’s changed – and what hasn’t. Maudlyne tweeted the tale Monday:Storified by Craig Newman· Mon, Jan 21 2013 21:54:384 a.m. wake-up call. In lobby feeling like zombie. Boarding bus @ 4:45 a.m. for 3-hr. ride, massive roadblocks, traffic gridlock expected.Maudlyne IhejirikaStay tuned.Maudlyne IhejirikaReady to see the president! IhejirikaOff to see the swearing in! IhejirikaJust arived @ RFK Parking lot w/ zlillon otber buses from across the nation. Thousands spl out. The march begins. IhejirikaSignals may be nonexistent on Mall w millions phoning, tweeting, blogging. Next post may be after it’s all over. Stay tuned!Maudlyne IhejirikaAllong the 3-mile odyssey, vendors selling everything Obama,, buttons, shirts, I-phone covers…Obama dancing bear? IhejirikaFinally made it to 7th St. general entrance for those w/out tickets. Frazier family squeezes into a line hundreds deep. IhejirikaBrooklyn Mayor & promising Democrat Cory Booker interviewing w/ET host outside Capitol. He predicts NY Giants in 2014. IhejirikaOk, so after nearly 2 hrs. in general admission line, it’s nearly 11 am & Fraziers & tens of thousands still waiting fear they won’t get in.Maudlyne IhejirikaSadness, then anger sets in. Who organized this? There’s only 3 manned stations @ checkpoint for masses. What were they thinking?!?Maudlyne IhejirikaFinally, angel comes along, announces 5th St. gate for those w/tickets is now processing general admission. We debate, then hike the 2 blksMaudlyne IhejirikaWe make it into new gate on Penn Ave. @ 11:35, 5 mins. into ceremony. Frazier family scrambles toward jumbotron. Biden, Obama sworn in.Maudlyne IhejirikaWow! Many emotions. Mckinley Wright, 14, seeing 44th president inaugurated for first time, is mesmerized, glued to ceremony, strains to see.Maudlyne IhejirikaAsia Wright, 16, walks away from her family to clear opening in crowd where she watches, but more importantly, listens to Obama speech.Maudlyne IhejirikaSemaja Frazier, 12, gazes steadily, waving her souvenir flag and screaming, at the appropriate pause and applause moments of Obama’s speech.Maudlyne IhejirikaBrian Jackson, 12, can’t see above crowds; listens awhile, then focuses on photos of people, his family, himself, at his second inaugurationMaudlyne IhejirikaFrazier family keeps its date with history:… IhejirikaWith cold, hungry kids in tow, Pamela opts to skip the Presidential Parade, which doesn’t start for two hours, for sustenance and warmth.Maudlyne IhejirikaWe meet bus back @ RFK Stadium 5 pm sharp, 3 hrs. back to Harrisburg. Early night. Tuesday it’s a visit to U.S. Capitol, then hit the road.Maudlyne Ihejirika

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