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For area residents, experience was worth long lines, crowds

Category: RV, Inauguration
Source: Wilmington Star-News, North Carolina
Publish Date: Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Summary: The Brunswick County resident and his fiancee, Linda Patton, drove an RV from Holden Beach to a campground in Maryland, took an hour-long Metro ride to the National Mall, sat far back from the Capitol in freezing temperatures and got stuck in a massive crowd trying to exit the mall after the inauguration.

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By Shannan Bowen
Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 4:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 6:01 p.m.

The Brunswick County resident and his fiancee, Linda Patton, drove an RV from Holden Beach to a campground in Maryland, took an hour-long Metro ride to the National Mall, sat far back from the Capitol in freezing temperatures and got stuck in a massive crowd trying to exit the mall after the inauguration.

The wind chill of 11 degrees, the estimated 2 million people, the crowds pushing their way through the gates, the lines that seemingly went on forever - none of it made them regret their decision to come.

"It's all part of the adventure if you look at it as an adventure," Patton said after the inauguration, catching her breath at the National Museum of the American Indian.

The couple said they wanted to take back memories of their trip to friends in Brunswick County, where they said many people wanted to see evidence that the new president's promise of change was in progress.

"The key message is this is such a historic moment in my lifetime and everyone else's," Lytvinenko said.

For Shallotte resident Monika Daniels, who came with her family on a bus trip organized by the N.C. Martin Luther King Jr. committee, the inauguration was an opportunity to prove to her sons Kayne, 13, and Randy, 18, that their dream was also an American dream.

"For a mother raising two black boys in the South in America, and really in America period, this showed them they can do anything they put their minds to," she said. "That was realized today. All the struggles they have had or will have in their lives, what their ancestors went through, they can be or do whatever they want to."

For Daniels, it wasn't just Tuesday's cold she had to endure.

She also attended a reception with other North Carolina members from the bus tour well into the wee hours the night before, meaning she was operating on less than two hours of sleep before leaving her hotel at 3 a.m. Tuesday to get to the National Mall.

"But it was worth it. It was so amazing," she said. "I laughed. I cried. My husband cried. Everyone around us cried. I'm so energized that the exhaustion hasn't hit me yet. It was beautiful."

David Grace, a Wilmington resident who volunteered for Obama's campaign, said he was in awe after the inauguration.

And although things didn't work out the way Grace had planned - the gate he was supposed to enter for a ticketed seat was closed early because of security reasons - he said he didn't think he could get the full experience of Obama's inauguration if he hadn't been here with millions of others.

"You would have to be here," he said. "It's just a feeling you have to experience."

Staff Writer Burke Speaker contributed to this story.

Shannan Bowen:264-8345


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