Inauguration spectators come to DC with stories

January 20, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — The inauguration of Barack Obama has brought visitors from all over the world to the nation’s capital. Why did they make the trek?


Riding a mostly empty Metrorail subway train into the capital from nearby Arlington, Va., before 5 a.m. Tuesday, Obama activist Akin Salawu of Brooklyn, N.Y., said his feelings were a bittersweet mix.

“This is the culmination of two years of work,” said Salawu, 34, who helped the candidate as a community organizer and web producer. “We got on board when Obama was the little engine who could. He’s like a child you’ve held onto. Now he’s going out into the world.”

“We’re very proud of him, being African-American,” said Salawu’s mother, Norene Powell, 59, of Somerset, N.J. “It’s a new benchmark for everybody.”

On the same subway car was world history teacher Calvin Adams of Arlington, Va., who said he would have taken the day off to attend the inauguration even if schools in nearby Loudoun County, Va., where he teaches, had remained open.

“Eventually I’ll teach American history,” said Adams, 23. “I’ll say, ’This is how it works because I’ve been there, I’ve seen it.”’ — Alan Fram