By Jason Luntz
January 22, 2013 – A group of nearly 200 Tennessee residents boarded buses in Madison, TN and traveled to Washington DC to view President Obama’s second Inauguration.
The buses stopped and picked additional people in Cookeville, Knoxville, and Bristol along the way.
Buses leaving for Washington, DC.
Sponsored by www.johnsmithmarketing.com and 92.Q, the bus trip allowed Tennesseans to take part in the inauguration festivities and do some sight-seeing around the nation’s capital.
John Smith provided a bus trip to the 2009 Inauguration and was excited to do the same task again, especially during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. “He wanted a day like this,” he said. “Not only for black people but for all Americans.”
An estimated 800,000 people visited Washington DC during the weekend of the Inauguration. A large mass congregated on the National Mall, where large monitors and speakers had been provided for everyone to take part.
Crowds walking to the National Mall
Anita Merriweather of Memphis, TN was happy for the chance to revisit DC and see the President sworn in. “This is my second inauguration, and it is history making once again,” she said just hours before the ceremony began.
Merriweather’s niece, Toya Hamlett, felt it was a great opportunity to make it to the event. “I am from Jackson, TN and I made it to Washington DC.” Hamlett spoke just a few blocks from the national mall.” I am very excited, this is my first time for this kind of experience and I am grateful it.”
(l – r) Anita Merriweather, Toya Hamlett, John Smith, Brooklyn Tankard
Temperatures remained mild and while they were not as low as 2009, it did become cold as time passed. Despite the weather the crowd remained in the good spirits throughout the morning and afternoon.
Being a part of the Inauguration was exciting for many who traveled with the group.
“I loved it, I absolutely loved Washington.” Marcia Gordon who journeyed with the buses explained. “I love the people and I love the unity we had, wonderful trip.”
“I am really glad I came, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Brooklyn Tankard of Murfreesboro, TN.
The group returned to Tennessee early Tuesday and found themselves greeted by news cameras recording how they felt about the journey. All the major networks in Nashville were on the scene for this occasion.
Every four years America celebrates the peaceful and successful voting process that allows us to choose our President. This year the nation did it again and Tennessee residents were able to enjoy that process. As Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, who spoke at the Inauguration, said, “No mob, no coup, no insurrection, a moment when millions stop and watch.”