Witnesses to history

Angela Clark, a member of United Auto Workers 1714, boarded a bus with her daughter and other union members shortly before 3 a.m. Monday to begin the six-or-so hour drive to the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

When the group arrived in Washington, D.C., Clark, a material driver at the General Motors Complex in Lordstown, said there then was about an hour walk, but it was all worth what it for what she called a ”once in a lifetime” experience.

”It was special because sharing that with her (Brooke, her daughter) and realizing she is the future because when Obama was speaking, everything he was talking about was about youth,” said Clark, attending her first and probably only inauguration ceremony.

Clark said she and Brooke were about two miles away from the Capitol Building, but were able to watch the ceremony on large televisions set up for the crowd.

Brooke, 16, a junior at Newton Falls High School, said attending Obama’s second swearing-in ceremony ”was pretty amazing,” although it was overwhelming at first because of the number of people. A crowd of about 800,000 was forecast to attend.

And being there with her mom, ”it was cool because I shared that experience with my mother.”

It was Maurice Watt’s first time attending a presidential inaugural, too.

”It was a beautiful experience,” said Watts of Warren, a line worker at General Motors. ”I was able to be a part of a celebration that will go down in history for me because this president here, his first term was my first time being able to vote.”

Gina Bianco was about 250 yards away from the stage and although there were televisions nearby, she said she had a crystal clear view of the ceremony.

”It was amazing to see the president, the vice president, Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce, it was awesome,” said Bianco, 25, of Girard.

It was also Bianco’s first time in Washington, D.C., so she took advantage of some of her time to visit the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Sunday. She also attended the Ohio Inaugural Ball Saturday night and was attending the presidential inaugural ball Monday night.

Elaine Price of Warren, one of 50 national co-chairs for Obama’s re-election campaign, had planned to attend, but her plans unexpectedly changed at the last minute. She watched the ceremony on television.

”It’s exciting knowing all the hard work that we did, that we’re able to see the goal was accomplished,” Price said.