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'This extraordinary moment in history'

Category: RV, Inauguration
Source: York County Coast Star, NH
Publish Date: Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Summary: In November, they booked an RV site at Cherry Hill Park in Maryland, advertised as the closest campground to the nation's capital. They'll stay in a truck camper they bought in April.

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A local family is camping outside of Washington, D.C., to attend next week's inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Jorinda Margolis, Paul Fitzpatrick and their 12-year-old son Nate Fitzpatrick have no tickets to the ceremony and don't expect to see the new president in person.

"As excited as we are in anticipation, it's nothing compared to what we'll feel when we're there," Margolis said from her York home on Sunday, Jan. 11. "I know I'll cry, yell ..."

The couple wants Nate to witness history.

Nate, sitting next to his parents, wore an Obama T-shirt. Asked why he was excited to go, he said, "Probably because I get to see Obama. Just because he's the first African-American president."

Nate is a sixth-grader at York Middle School who will miss a few days of class to go on the Obama-venture.

"We have never taken Nate out of school to do anything," Margolis said. "We want him to be there so he can say he had been there. We want him to understand this extraordinary moment in history. This trumps school."

Margolis, a psychotherapist in Exeter, N.H., and Fitzpatrick, assistant director of SeaCare Health Services in Exeter, have been Democrats all of their voting lives. This is the first time they've felt compelled to go to an inauguration.

Margolis campaigned for George McGovern, but didn't get to celebrate a victory in that 1972 election. She originally backed Hillary Clinton in 2008 before Obama won the party's nomination.

Fitzpatrick became an Obama supporter, he said, after hearing the Illinois senator speak at Seacoast Media Group in Portsmouth, the company that owns The York Weekly.

"He really impressed me," Fitzpatrick said.

After Obama won the election, Fitzpatrick said he felt surprise that America had "reached a maturity I didn't feel it had reached" in electing its first African-American president.

"We were sitting here one morning after he was elected, grinning ear to ear," Margolis said. "I said to Paul, 'We should go.'"

Her husband immediately agreed.

In November, they booked an RV site at Cherry Hill Park in Maryland, advertised as the closest campground to the nation's capital. They'll stay in a truck camper they bought in April.

They've been to Washington before, as Fitzpatrick has family in the area, and tried out the camper in a spring trip to South Carolina. They're hoping the weather in Washington will be more on the balmy side for January — that is, above freezing — rather than bitter cold.

The camper sleeps them all comfortably, has a small refrigerator, a four-burner stove, bathroom with a shower, an 8-gallon hot-water tank, and yes, a propane heater.

The campground offers public transportation access to Washington. The family expects to ride in with other like-minded Obama supporters. Fitzpatrick said they'll stand in the Mall during the inauguration and hope to glimpse the parade.

They tried to get tickets to the inauguration, even writing to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who kindly wrote back, but who was unable to help. Fitzpatrick went on the Internet and found scalpers who were trying to get people to pay for a "ticket" to the Mall, even though standing there is free, he said.

"We're still going to see it happen," Margolis said. "(We'll) watch him take the oath of office."

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