January 2009 Archives

Cold. Exhausting. Those were my own overriding feelings as I worked this historic event.
Moving. Momentous. Overwhelming. Those were the feelings that followed.
Among the crowd, fulfilling was an adjective used a lot.
The sea of people that turned out for Barack Obama's inauguration, we learned later, was estimated at some 2 million.
At ground zero, it sure felt like it.
What we couldn't see from our various vantage points, however, was how far the panorama stretched. And it wasn't until later, seeing it on television, that I realized what I'd been a part of. I was shocked.
And the feelings I hadn't had time to feel while working, came at night, watching it fully, watching what I hadn't been able to see from in the middle of all those people.
The images bear witness to a day to remember.

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The city seems normal before you near the Capitol.

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The throngs start to grow as you approach.

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Pamela Frazier listens to President Barack Obama's inauguration speech.

(Washington, D.C.) -- For many average folks that traveled here for the inauguration of the nation's first black president, today was about the battle, in so many ways.

The battle for racial equality. The battle for their share of the American Dream. The battle just to get onto the National Mall.

It is just after 7 a.m. eastern time, and we are leaving our hotel, headed to president-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.

With the delays yesterday morning, the Frazier family and their tour group on a "Road trip to the White House" were quite antsy by the second rest stop last night to refuel the bus, in Breezewood, Pa.

But as the "Are we close yets" started to come, the Trailways bus driver got lost. His GPS went haywire. So the group didn't pull up at their Best Western hotel in Denton, Md. (half the group continued to a Best Western in Smyrna, Md.) until after 5 a.m.


Bryan Jackson, 8, shares a seat with Grandma on the roadtrip.

Stream of Consciousness:
We've been driving now for nearly 10 hours.

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Ryaan Frazier, 17, and cousin Mylon Frazier, 13.

We're on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It's dark, but the lights are pretty.
The loud chatter and politics chatter of the first three hours died down to low murmurs a third of the way into the trip, and by the time we made our first rest stop sometime after 6 p..m. and hit the road again, it had become quiet.
Sleep had taken over in most sections of the bus.
Some still have their crazy red, white and blue hats pulled over drooping eyes.

The Frazier family prepares to board the bus.

After weeks of preparation and mounting excitement, nine members of the Frazier family of Marquette Park left this morning on their "Road trip to the White House."

But they say anything worth having is worth waiting for.

And after weeks of preparation and mounting excitement, Pamela, her two children and six grandchildren, would have to wait a little longer -- three hours, to be exact.

One of the two Trailways buses broke down en route from Rockford to pick up their tour group at 87th & the Dan Ryan. Trailways then drew the group's ire by promising to get the second bus to them within an hour -- which turned into two hours and then three hours.

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The Fraziers and their group wait out a three-hour delay leaving on their "Road trip to the White House."

Catch the Fraziers featured on NBC Chicago


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Fly guy (literally) Marquis Wright, 28, is a flight attendant with Southwest Airlines who got stuck on the fringes of Grant Park Nov. 4, 2008, and found a memorable experience.

Marquis Wright and his twin, Marquita, are the youngest of five children of Pamela Frazier.

The 28-year-old has been employed with Southwest Airlines since 2001, working his way up from ramp agent to operations staff to flight attendant.

A graduate of Kenwood Academy, he attended Northern Illinois University for a year before transferring to Harold Washington Community College. He attended Harold Washington a year and a half when Southwest participated in a job fair at the school.

He applied, was hired, and left school for a dream job with good pay and benefits.

As a flight attendant, he flies for free with his airline, so he flew into Washington, D.C. Friday with friends who also work for Southwest. (No other seats were available as flights were booked solid after Friday).

Like others already in D.C., Marquis and his friends have been celebrating since arrival.

Here, he recounts his experience on that historic Nov. 4 night -- an experience that inspired him and a lot of other Generation Xers to attend the inauguration.

Where were you on election night?

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Michael Frazier, Jr. never thought he'd live to see a black president.
Inset: His brother, Marquis Wright, a flight attendant, is taking a week off to attend the inauguration.

Michael Frazier Jr. describes himself as so many other Americans -- living
paycheck to paycheck.

So the 36-year-old South Sider says he can't afford time off from his Museum
of Science & Industry job to join his family on their "Road Trip to the
White House."

His mother, Pamela Frazier of Marquette Park, is taking nine family members
on the three-day bus trip to the Capitol.

Going are Michael's two sons, Michael III, 16, and Mylon, 13, who he
believes need to witness the inauguration of a black president.

"I love my boys to death," says the father, struggling to keep them in an
apartment in upwardly mobile Beverly with his wife of 15 years.

"I'm grateful they'll be there to witness history -- a president sworn in
that looks like them. I never thought I'd see it," he says.

See editorial by Black Star Project founder Phillip Jackson on state of young black males

Email your answer to his question

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Pamela Frazier and her family are traveling to Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of America's first black president.


For weeks now, Frazier family matriarch Pamela Frazier has been counting
money in the bank, ticking off bus, hotel, food and souvenirs.

Most everyone's going to the inauguration of America's first black president
-- among the Frazier family of Marquette Park, that is.

"It's costing me about $5,000," says Pamela, beaming with pride.

"I believe in Obama.

"I believe he is a good example of people who can do and go anywhere they
want to go. He is a good example of where he came from. He came from a
single family home. I did too. He came from not being raised by his dad. I
did too."

So she's taking eight other members of her family on "A Road Trip to the
White House," a three-day event by a South Side tour operator that involves
spending Jan. 19 on a bus to D.C., Jan. 20 on the National Mall and Jan. 21
on the bus home.

Sun-Times readers will travel with Pamela, 58 -- a divorced, middle-class
mother of five and grandmother of seven -- and her brood.
Watch the family's video
Email me your inauguration trip plans

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