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Anne Arundel 100
It's Not Just a Dream Anymore
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St. Mary’s College observed the history-making Inauguration Day from several angles: TVs were on across campus, and Cole Cinema was jammed with students watching the theater screen. There, faculty gave an overview of previous inaugurations, and afterwards solicited reaction. Plus, several folks got to make the trek to Washington, D.C.
Rachel Brooks, caretaker for Anne Arundel Hall for the past six years, had no plans to go until Maryland Delegate John Bohanan gave her tickets at the Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast the day before.
“He pulled out a folder, and gave me 10 tickets, a map, and instructions,” she says. Her family rose at 5 a.m., bundled in many layers of clothes, and packed snacks. They met others at the First Missionary Baptist Church parking lot in Lexington Park, and caravanned to the New Carrolton metro station. By 10:30, they were standing with 2 million others on the Mall.
“I was very, very excited. I had never been in a crowd that big, but it was history, just being part of history in the making,” says Brooks. She could not see the Capitol stands clearly, but watched the nearby giant TVs to watch the first African American being sworn in as U.S. President.
“Obama is straightforward, he’s ready to work, but he let us know he can’t do it alone. He needs our help.”
So, was it worth it? “Oh, yes. I am waiting for the next four years, so I can do it all over again!”
Harry Sparrow, assistant director for trades and projects, is retired from the Coast Guard, and has a friend who got him about 80 feet from the swearing in. He also was standing right where the Obamas left the car to wave to the crowds during the parade. “I could tell when my cell phone would beep with no bars that the President was close by,” Sparrow tells us. “They were jamming everything for security.”
This was his third inauguration; he also went to Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s, but this is the first time he felt such strong emotion. “I am not the kind of guy who cries, but a tear did indeed go down my cheek.”
Rannieta Rothwell, of Human Resources, says: “I would not have missed this event for the world. I am glad that I was part of history.”
For Debi Brooks, executive assistant for the vice president of development, meeting people from all races and so many states was most poignant. “We’ve waited and waited for this day,” she says. “We were all there for the same reason. We sang and swayed to keep warm.”
The next day Debi’s feet were still frozen, her knees and throat were sore. But “this was a big step for us. It’s not just a dream anymore.”