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Story Archives: Locals recall inaugural trip to Washington
|Locals recall inaugural trip to Washington|
At least eight Winnsboro residents made the trip to Washington D. C. last month for the Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, and none of them think it will ever be forgotten.
Linda Short, an office deputy in the Franklin Parish Sheriff's Department called the trip, including the more than 50 hours spent riding on bus, "the chance of a lifetime, something I'll always remember."
Linda and Deborah Miles were joined by brother and sister Paul and Bessie Merrells and Bessie's daughter Tracey Merrells on the bus trip, which originated in Monroe and included many others from throughout Northeast Louisiana.
Ladill Majors, Rita Lain and Shirley Neal traveled faster. The three went by airplane.
Neal was a guest in the home of her son Arthur Neal, Jr., formerly of Newellton who now works in Washington at the US Department of Agriculture.
Although she avoided the large crowds for the safety of her son's home, she was taken with the festivities. "They held a welcome party for about 50 people," she said, "with family coming from everywhere, even California."
Bessie Merrells said the bus crowd was, "90 miles away from Pennsylvania Avenue" where they spent the night before the inauguration. "But the thing I'll remember most is the people, the crowd. Everyone was real nice, really happy."
Linda Short said her memory will be the same. "Everyone seemed just happy to be there, there were strangers helping strangers and everyone was nice to one another."
The cold weather was not even mentioned as a drawback by any of the Winnsboro visitors to Washington. "We didn't mind standing in the cold," said Bessie Merrells when asked about weather conditions.
She said that having a nephew, Paul's son, living in Washington helped make the historic visit more enjoyable. "They toured us all around town,' she said.
"We could only get so close and then we had to watch on monitors, just like you did at home," she said.
For Linda Short, who was kind enough to help The Franklin Sun find others who made the trip, the Washington trip was second hand. In 2006 she made her first trip to Washington to help enroll her daughter in Howard University.