The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Area residents take place in history
BY ROBYN SIDERSKY
Sabrina Jones, 14, screamed louder when Beyoncé sang the national anthem then when President Barack Obama took the oath of office Monday in front of nearly 1 million people.
Jones, along with a group of friends and neighbors, ventured to the nation’s capital for the big event. The group, a mix of four adults and four kids, were overjoyed to be part of history.
Four years ago, Pat Holland and Valerie Hopson–Bell of Spotsylvania County took Hopson–Bell’s grandson, Fabian Murphy, who was eight at the time, along with a group of friends. When Obama won the 2012 election, Fabian, now 12, said he wanted to go to the inauguration again. He said he didn’t remember too much from the last time, but this time he would definitely remember it.
Holland said she thought it was important for the kids to see a part of history.
“We have to grow responsible citizens and make them go to this kind of stuff,” she said. “It’s our job to make sure our generation is responsible in some way, shape or form.” For the younger members of the group—Fabian, Marcus Watts, 13, and Deric Stokes, 12—it was a day of firsts. Except for Fabian, who went to the inauguration in 2009, the other youngsters had never been to Washington, D.C. or taken a ride on the Metro.
Dennis and Linda Parsons, two of the senior members of the group, were just as excited to be there. Both volunteered throughout Obama’s campaign, making phone calls and canvassing, Dennis Parsons said. A self-described political junkie, he said it would not be his last time attending an inauguration.
“The inauguration is a part of what our government is,” he said. “It’s a symbol of the peaceful transition of the government every four years.”
Linda Parsons said she was inspired by the day’s events and was thrilled that the younger ones enjoyed it so much. Her group drove up to the Franconia–Springfield Metro station then took the train into the city.
The ones who went in 2009 said it wasn’t as crowded as the last time. Though they weren’t anywhere near the Capitol, they got a clear view of what was going on courtesy of a Jumbotron not too far from the spot they selected on the mall.
As the First Lady and the Vice President flashed across the screen, the group cheered and excitedly waved American flags that were handed out to spectators.
When Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s face appeared on the screen, the kids asked who she was. But there was no mistaking Beyoncé as she belted out the National Anthem.
They weren’t the only Fredericksburg-area residents to make the trek to D.C. for the inauguration. Rae Moriarty and her 12-year-old son Liam were there too. But instead of being with thousands of others on the mall, they got to sit closer to the stage because Moriarty’s husband is a U.S. Capitol Police Officer.
“We have a 12 year-old-son who we really do want to expose to the new generation of politics and how government works and how through these recent decades things have changed dramatically,” Moriarty said.
She said her father-in-law, who is Irish, encouraged them to fully embrace what it means to be American, and saw attending the inauguration as part of that.
Liam said he enjoyed the speeches, but wished it was a little warmer outside.
But best of all was his vantage to the president.
“It felt like he was talking to us, not everybody, being that close,” he said.
Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413