February 5, 2009

Inauguration - so close, yet so far

By Brenda L. Shelkey, BHG News Service

Being a part of history is important to Paul Schauer, Wilton, enough that he made the trip to Colorado when Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention. When Obama went on to win the presidential election last November, Schauer decided that the history lesson should continue. He wanted to be part of the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2009. He contacted Senator Conrad’s office requesting tickets for himself, his children Eric and Emma Schauer, and their German exchange student Johannes Luedeman. Each senator and representative is given 198 tickets to distribute to people of North Dakota. When Schauer got the phone call from Conrad’s office saying his family would be receiving the four requested tickets to the inauguration, he was ecstatic. The Schauers left for Washington, D.C., on Friday, Jan. 16, shortly after noon, stopping in Wisconsin and Iowa before arriving in D.C. On Monday the Schauers did their sightseeing, including finding the gate and ticketed area where they were to be early Tuesday morning. Even before the event, the crowds were overwhelmingly huge and interesting. "It was almost like going to a football game," said Paul. "Everybody was so excited, and they were coming from places all over the country. One thing that struck me was how strong the excitement was. "On Monday, when we were walking around the mall, strangers were talking to each other. I overheard parents explaining the importance to their kids. Even though the crowds were huge, everybody was friendly. Everybody was in great spirits."

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