Metro Detroiters get rare opportunity to witness the presidential inauguration

Local 4's Carmen Harlan will travel to DC to see President Obama's swearing-in ceremony, catch up with metro Detroiters who are there

Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:25:40 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 21 2013 02:25:51 AM EST
DETROIT -

Several metro Detroiters will be in Washington DC Monday for the second swearing-in ceremony for President Barack Obama including Local 4's Carman Harlan.

George Parker, 82, has never missed an election.  She also encourages others to exercise their civic duty.   In fact, she has been active in the Democratic party for 20 years.

"For Barack Obama, I have been working for eight years going from door to door encouraging people to register to vote. I got about 50 people to register this time," said Parker.

Parker secured a ticket to the inauguration.   She was born in the South and moved to Michigan to live with her aunt so she could attend school.   Having lived through segregation, she feels the significance of President Obama's accomplishment, the first black president now serving a second term.

"It's really happening. I dreamed one day that it would happen, but I thought it would never come true," said Parker.

Parker said she was the third black teacher hired in the school district in Mount Clemens.  She taught second grade for 25 years, has traveled the world, earned her masters degree and said she feels very blessed.

"My motto is to help somebody every day of my life, and I do that.  I even keep a record of what I do for somebody every day," said Parker.

This will be Parker's second visit to Washington DC for an inauguration.   She saw President Clinton's swearing-in ceremony in 1993.  He later attended the same inaugural ball as her and she tried to get in line to dance with him.

"He didn't stay there but 10 to 15 minutes and I was in line, I think about third or four back, trying to dance with him.  I didn't get the chance but I saw him," said Parker.

Cass Technical High School's marching band will be 60 strong in the crowd Monday morning.  The students performed in the Presidential Inauguration Festival on Saturday.    They will also get a tour of the White House on Tuesday.    

"To see President Obama be reelected to the White House for a second term,  and me being a part of that history, it means a lot to me," said Abraham Duffie Jr., a junior at Cass Technical High School in Detroit.

The students are thrilled by this opportunity

"When I get older I will always have this with me and I can share with other people that I meet," said Deangila Jones, a senior at Cass Technical High School.

The Military Spouses of Michigan will be marching in the Inaugural Parade after the swearing-in ceremony on Monday.   Members of the group said they feel they finally have a voice thanks to the efforts of First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.  The two women launched the Joining Forces initiative in 2011 that shines a spotlight on the needs of military families while their loved ones are called to serve.

"Our family has been military for a long time, so it's just been nice to have someone in the White House who is supporting the families," said Rebecca Johnson.

About 90 people will march represent Military Spouses of Michigan, including 40 from metro Detroit.

"The support, just like these people here.  If you're having a really bad day you can call and you don't have to explain anything, you can just say 'Hi,'" said Nancy Voss.

Voss brought her three sons to Washington DC.   She lost about 40 pounds from stress while her husband Tim was serving in Afghanistan last year.   Friends and military spouses like Rebecca Johnson help her get through it.

"It's like a once in a life time opportunity to go to Washington DC to see the President get sworn in and especially to bring my daughter to experience something like this," said Johnson.

After the parade, Voss and Johnson will be getting all dressed up to attend the Michigan Inaugural ball.

"My kids can't believe they're going to be that close to the President.  It just seems surreal," said Voss.

Local 4's Carmen Harlan will be in Washington DC Monday for the inauguration.   Stay tuned to Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit.com all day for complete coverage.