Among the hundreds of thousands expected to attend the 57th event are a group of Romans that, whether for the first time or on a repeat trip, are excited to see a part of United States history unfold.
George and Ann Pullen were on their way to Washington on Friday for their first inauguration.
“I’ve always watched them on television,” George Pullen said. “After we did what we could to get Obama elected and sworn in again, I thought ‘let’s go.’”
“I think it will be very exciting to see it in person,” Ann Pullen said.
“We may have to stand out in the cold for a while but I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Ann Pullen said.
A journey that they say is a culmination of the work that both they and the Democratic Party did, the Pullens said they expect a party-like atmosphere during the ceremony Monday afternoon.
“I don’t anticipate anything other than a celebration,” George Pullen said. “The weather is supposed to be nice and we’ll get together with some of our democratic friends and cheer.”
Wendy Davis, who attended both inaugurations for former President Bill Clinton, is hoping her trip this time around will end up better than four years ago.
A Roman and member of the Democratic National Committee, Davis had some issues that kept her from getting through the ticket gates
before they were closed at Obama’s first inauguration.
“There was this street vendor I ran into as I was walking around and he had the ceremony playing on his car radio so a bunch of us gathered around and listened to the speech that way,” David said.
She said there would be a sense of enthusiasm among the people that were a part of the campaign to get Obama re-elected.
“But it’s bigger than that,” Davis said. “It’s a bigger part of our democracy and a real reason to celebrate.”
The trip and occasion means something extra to Bishop Norris K. Allen, of the Overcoming Church of God.
Allen left Friday night with a bus of 16 people, most of which were from local churches in Rome, after he attended the inauguration in 2009.
“It was very exciting to be there then and I think this year will be just as great,” Allen said.
While Obama will be sworn in officially on Sunday, the traditional date of the inauguration, the ceremony will take place on the federal holiday honoring slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who Allen knew.
“I believe it will be awesome,” Allen said. “I really do.”