published Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Witnesses to history: Chattanooga group going to Obama inauguration

John Taylor sits in a bus at D&J Bus Service in Cleveland, Tenn., Tuesday. Taylor and others will be headed to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration on two of the company's rented buses.
John Taylor sits in a bus at D&J Bus Service in Cleveland, Tenn., Tuesday. Taylor and others will be headed to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration on two of the company's rented buses.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

IF YOU GO

Costs for the inauguration bus trip are based on hotel room accommodations.

• Four people in a room is $372.50 per person

• Three people in a room is $435 per person

• Two in a room is $560 per person

Those planning to go should meet at 6 p.m. Monday at Taylor Funeral Home on Wilcox Boulevard. Two full bus loads are scheduled. Thirty people who can pay their fee in full are needed for Taylor to take another bus. The group leaves Chattanooga on Jan. 18. Scheduled return is Jan. 22.

When President Barack Obama is sworn in as president of the United States next week, at least 60 people from Chattanooga will be at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to see it.

"I am even more excited about attending his second inauguration [than his first]," said the Rev. John Taylor, pastor of Third Street Church of Christ. "This isn't just history. This is miraculous."

The symbolism is huge for another reason, as well.

The nation's first black president will be sworn in for his second term on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the time the country has set aside annually to commemorate civil rights leader.

Taylor and the Chattanooga group will join hundreds of thousands of people from across the country to watch Obama take the oath of office.

Taylor is organizing the trip. So far he's taking two buses, but a third is possible, he said.

This is only the second time that the presidential inauguration has been scheduled on MLK Day, according to news reports. The first was President Bill Clinton's second inauguration in 1997.

Obama, whose white mother was from Kansas and black father was from Kenya, became America's first black president in 2008.

"Very seldom do you have a second opportunity to share in a historic moment," said Dr. Thomas Rumph, a Chattanooga dentist who will attend the event.

Obama provides youth a role model that shows they can "shoot for the stars," said Rumph.

Retired U.S. Postal Service worker Mike Houston also will be on the Chattanooga bus. He's taking a video camera to record the event.

"I'm going to be the eyes and ears for people," he said. "I want to share the event with people who can't go."

The official Inauguration Day is Jan. 20, according to the Constitution. Obama will have a private swearing-in that day. Because it falls on Sunday this year, the public swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for the next day.

This is the second time Taylor has organized a trip to Obama's inauguration. The first time a record 1.8 million people attended the event and hotels were sold out in and around Washington.

The hotel Taylor booked in 2009 was 120 miles from Washington. This time the crowd isn't expected to be as large, according to news reports. Taylor has hotel reservations 20 miles from D.C.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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