“Are you at the capitol?” read my text message.
“We are still in line,” replied a lady in Washington, D.C. “The TV shows President Obama’s motorcade on his way from the White House.”
“Get ready,” I wrote.
“Okay!,” came her answer.
After that, I thought to myself, “I’ll leave her alone and let her enjoy the rest of the inauguration while I watch on TV in the warmth of my living room and easy chair.”
Meschelle Rickett of Bremen was the lady in line at the Washington, D.C., Mall to see President Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration. Rickett is a teacher assistant to Mary Reid of “Reid’s Rosey Rabbits,” a Pre-K class at Glanton-Hindsman Elementary School (GHES) in Villa Rica.
Rickett and her friend, Sharon “Honey” Harvey of Temple, the GHES lunch room manager, rode a Greyhound bus to Washington, D.C., last week; picked up their tickets at the office of 14TH District Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA), and struck out for the inaugural site.
The ladies soon found themselves swimming in a sea of spectators, but not before facing a roadblock and lengthy security checks. They did not arrive in time to get seats, but stood somewhere in the middle of the vast throng, fairly close to a giant TV monitor and really close to a loud speaker.
“The main reason I wanted to go was that it was a part of history,” Rickett said. “I have read many books on President Obama, and I just wanted to meet him.”
Rickett said she and Harvey enjoyed the general splendor of all the activity, and tried to make the most of their visit to our nation’s capital.
“Honey and I stayed together in Washington, enjoying the preparations for the inauguration,” said Rickett. “We stood in the street and watched the President’s motorcade. We also visited the Martin Luther King Jr. monument.”
On Sunday night, the twosome welcomed the arrival of the Carrollton NAACP chapter they originally intended to join on their chartered bus. But they had to take an earlier bus in order to get their tickets while Congressman Graves’ office was open on Saturday.
“The feelings of union and togetherness were in the crowd,” said Rickett. “My heart was overjoyed to hear each member’s speech about this great country. And now if we want to see a difference, we have to work together as a union and not in fear.”
Rickett, 51, said she met people from all over the world.
“I am really impressed with President Obama because he cares for everyone – rich, poor, black and white. I plan to use the information I learned in the classroom and share it with the whole school. Also, I plan to go to every inauguration to support the President. Our leaders have many responsibilities, and it’s up to people like me to stand behind them.”
Harvey, known only as “Ms. Honey” to the GHES children, said her first time at a presidential inauguration was “an awesome experience.”
“We could see the President vaguely. We could see pretty well on the TV monitor if the person in front of us did not move.”
But Harvey said that was better than not seeing him at all: “There were thousands who did not get in because of the crowd.”
When asked why she made the trip, the 55-year-old Harvey replied, “I wanted to go because of President Obama. I did not go to his first ceremony four years ago. Every American should try to experience an inauguration at least once.”
The two ladies didn’t get to see the inaugural parade because the Presidential Luncheon of steamed lobster, South Dakota Bison and New York wines went into overtime. However, both said the trip was a wonderful experience.
They caught the NAACP’s chartered bus for the return trip, and when they got back to west Georgia, both said they were exhausted but happy to have been a part of history.