Thursday, February 5, 2009

Remembering Inauguration

Okay, so I haven't blogged in quite awhile.

The last time was just before inauguration. I figured before moving on I would remember the historic inauguration.

It went by in a blur to me. I was at First Baptist Church in Teaneck, N.J. covering and sending live feeds to the newsroom for our inauguration blog. [click here to read]

Here's what took place in Teaneck, N.J.:


--"Happy Obama Day"--

More two dozen members of First Baptist Church in Teaneck have gathered to watch the inauguration.

"I never thought I would live to see this day," said Deacon Leary Puryear, 68, watching CNN's coverage on a 50-plus inch television.

"For all the times that I participated in the demonstrations, this makes it all worth it. Everything the civil rights was about is being manifested right here."

Puryear, who has lived in Teaneck for about 30 years, grew up in Richmond, Va. and went to segregated schools.

Rufus Davis, 65, also of Teaneck, agreed.

"This means half of the struggle is over," said Davis, who grew up in the segregated Swainsboro, Ga. "I lived to see something that I thought would never take place."

"I would have never believed it," he said. "It means a lot for my kids to be a part of it. My daughter is down there in D.C. right now."

Deacon Lonnie Cohen, 51, of Teaneck, said the event was organized by the Men's Ministry of the church.

"This is a one time event," he said. "Never again will there be a first black president. We wanted to watch this in a fellowship type of setting."

Framed pictures of Obama were on tables in the basement of the church and light refreshments including chicken wings and pastries were served.

The members of the church gathered for a quick prayer blessing the food and the historic inauguration.

The church basement was filled with the Obama spirit.

"Happy Obama Day," said one member as she walked in.

--The Introduction--

At last, the moment everyone was waiting for had arrived.

Barack Obama was introduced and the group absolutely erupted. They pumped their fists. Hugged one another and one woman began to tear.

"It's just amazing," said Shirley McDougald of Bergenfield, who recalled marching in demonstrations as a college student at Pennylvania State University during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

"This is just a culmination of all our efforts," McDougald said as she wiped away tears with a tissue.

"I just keep thinking about when I used to march as a college student with my first raised," McDougald, wearing an Obama t-shirt with "Mr. President" written on it.

"He's definitely the coolest president," said Deacon Cohen. "This is the most excitement ever."

Members of the church recited the Lord's Prayer as it was recited on television.

"I'm so glad I made it. I'm so glad I'm watching this on TV," Vernell Schmidt, of Teaneck, 57, as a shot of the massive crowd was displayed.

"I have much love and respect for this man. It's his time and our hour," Schmidt said. "We all should be rolling up our sleeves to say what can to make this place better. He can't do it all alone."

--Aretha sets the stage--

They cheered for Aretha Franklin as she took the stage to sing, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee."

"Sing it," Deacon Puryear said.

--It's official!--

The church members joined hands as Barack Obama was officially sworn in as president."Hallelujuah!" yelled one member.

"We are ready to lead once more," one member repeated after Barack during his speech.

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