01/20/09 — Across county, residents celebrate historic event

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Across county, residents celebrate historic event

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on January 20, 2009 2:27 PM

News-Argus Video Report

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Charmeine Turner, 50, records President Barack Obama's inauguration speech on her cell phone on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 at the Rebuilding Broken Places in Goldsboro.

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Lorinzo Barrett, left, and Jerome Freeman watch Tuesday's inauguration ceremonies while sitting in McDonald's on Berkeley Boulevard.


Laverne Holder wipes tears away from her eyes as she watches Barack Obama be sworn in at the 44th president of the United States, while celebrating at Rebuilding Broken Places in .

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Jazmin Turner, left, 11, and Emani Powell, right, 11, pray for President Barack Obama with a group of about 30 people at Rebuilding Broken Places today.

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Carrie Faison, 75, sits alone and prays at Rebuilding Broken Places in Goldsboro as Barack Obama takes the oath of office, becoming the nation's 44th president and first black commander-in-chief.

Ignoring the snow that fell throughout Wayne County Tuesday, about 30 people braved the icy roads to celebrate together at Rebuilding Broken Places as President Barack Obama took his historic oath of office.

For many of them, Obama becoming the 44th president of the United State and the nation's first black commander-in-chief was a dream come true.

"My mother called me this morning and said that she always said I could be president, in faith," said the Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP. "I say it to my children now in actuality."

The group of young children gathered at a table to watch the ceremony may have been too young to completely understand the significance of the moment, but Devine Hill, 4, already found inspiration in President Obama.

Even if he still finds it hard to pronounce the president's name.

"He wants to be president," said Laverne Holder, his mother.

As the moment of the actual swearing-in approached, Barber led the group in a prayer, remembering the struggle of the Civil Rights movement and asking for blessings for the outgoing and incoming administrations.

"They prayed for a more perfect union," Barber said. "This one day is not everything, but we thank you for the possibility."

Barber also spoke about, and to, the children present.

"Their lives will never be the same," he said. "Don't you ever forget what you see today."

And then, when Obama was officially presented to the millions of onlookers in Washington, D.C., the crowd clapped and cheered in unison, chanting Obama's campaign slogan: "Yes we can!"

It was a moment that parents were proud to share with their children.

"It's a proud moment," said Paula Everette. "My son is 18, now he'll know there's nothing holding him back."

"It's a joy to be able to experience this movement of change, this movement of community," Angela McDowell added, with her young daughter by her side.

And while the falling snow and dropping temperatures forced the cancellation of many of the other planned celebrations, people all over the county still found ways to mark the historic event.

Some, including Goldsboro Mayor Al King, watched from their homes.

"I grew up when segregation was the law of the land, and I had things done to me just because of the color of my skin," he said.

"So this is very special to me -- very, very special. I'm glad I lived to see it.

"I'm proud of where we've gone and how people have changed. Barack Obama wouldn't have become president if only black people voted for him. Everyone was united, and I hope it stays that way."

Over at the McDonald's on Berkeley Boulevard, Jerome Freeman of Goldsboro watched the ceremonies.

"Lovely. Lovely," he said. "I would love to be there."

It was an occasion he never thought he'd see.

"I didn't believe it, but I believe it now," he said. "I think people are seeing more the content of a person than that of their skin. I feel it shows the nation is coming together and we have realized anything is possible."

Larry McEachern was trying to keep tears from streaming down his face as he watched the inauguration proceedings at the Community Crisis Center on Slocumb Street.

"I can't put it into words," he said. "It's this feeling I have. It's not just Barack Obama that has made this happen -- it's a movement of people. ... The change comes from us, not just from him. We've known that this was coming for a long time.

"It feels like we are president. We just didn't vote -- we worked to make this happen."

Still, he could never have dreamed that he would be watching a fellow black man being sworn in as the nation's leader.

"You know they tell you when you are little that you can be anything you want. Well, I didn't believe that because there were always limits -- like a bug stuck in a jar. Once you get to the top, there is something that keeps pushing you down."

But now, he said, "The limits are no longer there for anybody."