A witness to history
On January 21, 2013, Charlette Kremer, Director of Lewis-Clark Service Corps, witnessed history when she attended the nation's 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. Kremer's daughter Jayd is a Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force stationed at the Pentagon.
"On election night we decided that we had to take advantage of her location and attend the inauguration," Kremer said.
Soon their plans included Kremer's mother, sisters, aunt, and cousin. Inauguration Day started early for the group as they hit the Metro at 5:15 a.m. to ensure good "seats" for the 11:30 a.m. Swearing in Ceremony. Finally at 6:45 a.m. they entered the Capitol grounds with their green tickets in hand. The tickets, provided by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, allowed access to the Capitol's south standing area.
"Thanks to our early start we had a great view of the podium," said Kremer. "Somehow, everyone within my line of sight was shorter than me so I had clear views of all the festivities."
The weather cooperated as well as attendees enjoyed temperatures in the mid-40s with sunny skies and no wind.
"We prepared for freezing temperatures and snow, but thankfully, we didn’t need the extra layers," Kremer said.
Kremer said everyone was in a celebratory mood and people standing next to each other soon became friends. "We were standing with people from Miami who were freezing so we gave them our hand warmers. They took them without hesitating!"
Finally, after standing in one place for more than seven hours, the group made their way to a seat on the Metro.
"It felt so good to finally sit down," Kremer laughed.
Although the inauguration was the main event, Washington, D.C. also celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by organizing community service projects across the city.
"It was a great feeling to see everyone with their 'National Day of Service' buttons on, knowing they had served the community," Kremer noted.
Her family also visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial which she described as "powerful." The American History Museum had an interpretive presentation using the actual Woolworth lunch counter from which the civil rights sit-ins were launched.
"Listening to the young woman explain to the 'protesters' what they will most likely endure helped me appreciate their courage and sacrifice," Kremer said.
Kremer said she and her family agree that this will likely be the last time they will attend an inauguration, with perhaps one possible exception.
"We may reconsider when the first woman is inaugurated. Hopefully that will be soon."