Cape celebrates historic day
As millions packed the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, thousands in Cape Coral huddled around televisions to witness Barack Obama’s inauguration as the 44th president of the United States.
In his inaugural address, Obama called the nation to action, hard work and service to meet the challenges posed by the tough economic times.
“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America,” Obama told the nation.
For Obama supporters and many others in the Cape, however, the call to action was delayed as they took time to celebrate the transfer of power in the executive branch from George Bush to Obama.
One of more than 3,000 inaugural parties across the country hosted by Move On, a nonprofit group that promotes liberal public policies, was held at the Santa Barbara Clubhouse on Tuesday evening.
Simone Bynoe, a volunteer and organizer for the Obama campaign, planned the event after hearing that some were having problems making travel arrangements to Washington.
Bynoe said she encouraged party-goers to wear their “Sunday best” as a way for Democrats to celebrate Obama’s victory after eight years of disappointment.
“It seems like every four years people who are Democrats never got to celebrate. We were sitting in our pajamas depressed, eating bonbons,” Bynoe said.
Party attendees said they were moved by Obama’s inaugural address.
“The strength and the way he spoke about the changes, that we are united,” said Ginger Zorro, a Cape Coral resident and self-described “die-hard” Democrat.
For Bynoe, Obama’s inauguration means a change in U.S. foreign policy and the way the nation is viewed abroad.
She was particularly moved by Obama’s warning “to those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”
“That stood out to me,” Bynoe said.
Obama’s words also spoke to students who gathered at Edison College’s cafeteria.
Julio Osegueda, a freshman at Edison, watched the inauguration ceremonies with about 80 other students. He said he has never seen the room filled with that many people.
“I couldn’t even move,” Osegueda said.
After the pomp and pageantry of the inauguration, Obama will find a severe economic crisis and two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan waiting for him. The challenges may be great, but that is not lowering expectations of Obama.
“I truly hope within the next year he’ll start to turn around the economy and keep jobs here in this country,” Zorro said.
“Bring the troops home,” Osegueda said when asked what he wants to see in Obama’s presidency. “It still hurts to see young men and women like me getting hurt, putting their lives on the line.”
On a day when an African-American took over the reins as president of a country long-plagued by the specter of slavery, many wanted to focus on new opportunities and new hope.
“I never thought I would see this,” Bynoe, an African-American, said of Obama’s inauguration.
“I thought I could tell my kids they could set that kind of goal,” she added.