Generation Xer recalls joy on election night when Obama made history

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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?

"I'll never forget that night. I was trying to get downtown because I had tickets to Grant Park, me and six of my friends. We tried to make it down there, but our flight got in so late. By the time we got down there, they had already started to detour and close streets off.

"We could only get as far as 22nd Street, so we stopped at this little local bar called Reggie's, at 21st and State Street. It ended up being a very nice time. They were like having 25 cents wings, so we ordered wings galore, and drank and enjoyed ourselves.

"Toward the end of the night, when they showed the numbers, and we basically knew Obama was a shoo-in, you could feel the shock and excitement. Then when they announced it, the place went up in an uproar.

"People were screaming and hugging and crying. We were Caucasians, Mexicans, African Americans, and we were all just hugging one another. It was like everyone there had been waiting for this. And then the owner popped open champagne and sent a round to everyone in the bar. How I felt? Overwhelmed! Ecstatic! Proud! Relieved! It was like, 'Wow!' It wasn't what I planned, but it really turned out to be a lot of fun.

"What I feel now going into the inauguration is like, the time was due, and I have to be there to witness it. To know that I have little nieces and nephews who will also be there to witness it, is overwhelming. I know I'll shed a tear or two.

"I'll be at the inauguration with the same six friends I was with the night he was elected. We actually took the 15th through the 25th off. We're basically going to party the whole weekend away. We don't plan to sleep. Then Sunday and Monday, we're going to watch the city fill up.

"It kind of takes me back to when my mother sent me and my two brothers to D.C. for the Million Man March. Anything that has to do with history, my mother is a true believer. She's all on it. She's got your reservations, and she's got your names put in, and she's got you all set and ready to go.

"I do plan on communicating with my family when they get here, and trying to meet up with them. But if the traffic and crowds don't allow it, then we'll have to share the experience via text. Like the night he won, me and my friends were all texting each other, 'We did it!' This time, we'll be texting, 'It's official!' And even if I don't hook up with my family out there on the National Mall, I know I'll feel their presence."

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Maudlyne Ihejirika published on January 16, 2009 5:36 PM.

Father can't go to inauguration, but sends 2 teenage sons to see Obama was the previous entry in this blog.

Frazier family left this morning on "Road trip to the White House" is the next entry in this blog.

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