Valley Presence at Obama Inauguration

January 18, 2009 6:57:55 PM PST
The Majors are going with several other family members and close friends. They're staying in a Baltimore hotel because all D.C. hotels were booked. They said nothing would stop them from seeing Barack Obama become the first African-American president.Their suitcases have been packed for several days now.

"We've got our bags ready. All we have to do is walk out the door," said Karen Major with eager anticipation.

On Tuesday Fresno natives Karen and her husband Dennis will be in Washington D.C. to witness, first hand, the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.

"It's really about the history of it all and I think that the realization that this is possible," said Dennis Major.

Karen remembers as a child her parents dreaming of an African-American president.

"And this is what they talked about but never thought would occur in -obviously it didn't occur their lifetime-we didn't even think it would occur in our lifetime!" said Karen.

Dennis said: "And for the first time in a long time we have a president that is a thoughtful, considerate person that is going to look after the interest of all Americans."

Their tickets place them in a standing section at the inauguration with about 200,000 other people. This retired couple is expecting long lines, cold weather and an early start to the day ... 1 A.M.

"We don't plan on getting any sleep. So we have our snacks, long johns, cuddle-duds for the females," said Karen.

"We have a lot of work to do," said local patent developer Gary Schuster.

Schuster won't have to worry about the cold. He will be one of the millions watching the inauguration from his Northeast Fresno home. His post collegiate years were spent studying law at Harvard. Schuster graduated one year behind Barack Obama.

"I now wish I had written on to law review so I could have worked with him," laughed Schuster.

Schuster eventually did work for the president-elect. Last year he headed up Obama's headquarters here in the Valley. This Tuesday morning he gets to sit back with his family and watch history.

"You don't need to make a big breakfast or have fireworks or even have rock bands like they're having in D.C. I think listening to his to his words and appreciating the historic moment is going to be enough," said Schuster.

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