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Ennis Daily News

Ms. Searcy goes to Washington

Despite a missed flight, a walk that stretched for miles and an hours-long wait, Ennis City Commissioner Lola Searcy said she wouldn’t change one minute of being able to be on hand for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Searcy, along with millions of others braved the wind and cold to catch a glimpse of the man they feel will help the country prosper. While Searcy did not get as close as she had hoped to Obama, she did share in a moment that she said would remain as one of the most meaningful in her life.
"Right now I can’t think of any other moment that means as much to me," she said. "To be there when Barack Obama was sworn in as the president will be one of my most treasured memories because of what it means to the African American population in the country and also what it means to the country as a whole. I believe Obama is what the nation needs to turn things around."
Growing up Searcy said she always knew there would be a moment like this, a moment where an African American would rise to the highest office in the country.
"I remember having conversations with my father before he passed away where we agreed and believed that we would see an African American president take office and bring the nation together in equality," she said. "It is a proud moment in history and I am thrilled that I could be a part of it."
The day began for Searcy at 4 a.m. when the trek to the National Mall began and some four hours later when she was standing waiting for the ceremony to begin, she had the opportunity to speak with several different people who had also made the trip to Washington to share in the historic moment. Searcy said speaking with them and the experience of walking for miles to get to the ceremony gave her an idea of what the marches of the past were like.
"I spoke with one woman that had been part of the sit-ins and the movement for equality, who despite being an older woman made the trip to see Obama sworn in because she just couldn’t believe how far society had come from when she was younger," Searcy said. "Being there for the ceremony and having to walk along with all those other people gave me a feeling of what it must have been like to have been part of the marches on Washington back in the 1960s. It was surreal to know that what I was witnessing was something others had only dreamed of back then and fought for."
Searcy admits that at times, the emotion of the moment was too much and more than a few tears were shed in appreciation of the significance of the day.
"I spent the day between sobs," she said with a laugh. "I was especially moved to think of the slaves that helped build the White House who were not allowed in it or to have the same accommodations as the rest and now President Obama and his family are living there, it was just too much to take in. I feel like Obama’s moment was made possible by people like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks who fought for equality and opened the doors for Obama to have this moment. Being there and finally seeing King’s dream fulfilled, I feel like everything fell into place, like the hardships people faced and the awful actions of the past were not in vain"
Although Searcy knows the road ahead of Obama is not an easy one, she feels confident that he will be successful.
"Since 2004 when I watched Obama give a speech at the Democrat convention, I knew he had something special about him," she said. "The one thing that I heard again and again from people at the inauguration is that they feel like I do, that he is a people person and so down to earth that he really hears what the people want. For the first time in a very long time I feel like my voice was heard and that I have a say in what happens and that is empowering."
Having heard all of the comparisons that have been made about the Obamas, Searcy feels like the most accurate she has heard is "Camelot Re-visited."
"Having the Obama family in the White House feels like what people talked of when John F. Kennedy took office, about how refreshing it was to have a young first family and a young and fresh outlook on issues," she said. "I really feel like Obama will set the standard for presidents to come and that his time in office will be remembered as a great time for the country."
Searcy is thankful for the kindness of her host family who helped her share a moment in history and for Congressman Joe Barton who gave her tickets to the main event.
"I had the best host family who were very kind to open up their home to me and help me share in such an important day and Congressman Barton was absolutely gracious and accommodating to get me tickets to the event and I’m so thankful to have been a part of the celebration," she said. "The whole experience was so peaceful and amazing that after being with so many people and not hearing any harsh words or seeing any unkind actions, I know that even stronger strides toward equality and understanding of different cultures will be made in the future."

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Posted by on Jan 23 2009. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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