Parade Watchers Say Wait Was Well Worth It

Visitors reflect on their experiences at the inauguration

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The Illinois state float travels in the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., Tuesday. (Source: Getty Images)

Frigid weather and more than an hour delay did not deter hundreds from snagging a spot curbside on Pennsylvania Avenue to witness President Obama’s first public appearance since he was sworn in this afternoon at the 56th Presidential Inaugural Parade.

Although Yvonne Conolley viewed the president’s swearing-in ceremony by television, she made it her objective to be a spectator at the parade in spite of the cold temperatures.

“It doesn’t matter as long as I get to see Obama. We’ve never seen this ever in history–a black man [as] president! I’m so proud! Just thinking about it makes me feel warm!” said the 60-year-old Maryland resident.

Many undoubtedly shared Conolley’s sentiments. The crowd erupted as if the latest celebrity superstar was in their presence when President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walked the parade route poised and graceful. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, were also greeted with warm cheers as they followed soon after.

Biance Merkerson had been waiting since 7 a.m. for her opportunity to view the parade, but she said the wait was worth it.

“I’m just excited I could be apart of everything,” said Merkerson, who is from Miami, Florida but attends Howard University.

Merkerson, 19, caught a case of the butterflies when she saw the president stroll by. “It’s not the first time I’ve seen him in person. He just has a presence about him,” she said.

Numerous people decided to forfeit the parade after seeing the president, and those such as Charles Vonner, of California, were satisfied with their inaugural experience.

“This is an awesome experience. It is so heartfelt, not just because Barack Obama is an African American, but because he brings hope to the world,” Vonner said. “I’m telling you he’s going to work miracles for this country and every human being on the planet. We all should be proud to be an American today!”

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