Ethel Carson first made the trip in 2008 and felt privileged that she had the opportunity once again to witness the nation’s commander-in chief begin sworn in.
“Dot Dupree, from Gadsden, was the coordinator,” said Carson. “In 2008 she organized the trip to go to the inauguration. She did the same thing this time.”
“She called me to tell me to let Cherokee County know that she had the trip going,” said Carson. “ I contacted many people as I could. We left out Saturday evening, Jan. 19, from Gadsden. to D.C. I thank God that I was fortunate enough and I won’t give out the name of the person that gave me here that gave me a ticket so that I could go see the inauguration. I thank God for that. And it was just unbelievable.”
They were fortunate to enjoy a smooth trip up and, according to Rita Stover, Carson’s daughter who made the trip this time, things began on a high note once they arrived for the festivities.
“When we got off the shuttle, they had a red ticket line,” said Stover. “I was only going with momma as far as I could go. I didn’t have a ticket. She was going to a seated area, but I was going with her because I didn’t want to leave my mama in D.C. running around by herself. We got in line and we are standing in the dark and I got a picture from the capitol building.”
“We are standing there and I ask this man, ‘Can you tell me approximately how long I will get to go with my momma before I have to leave her so she can get in the seated area?’ He said, ‘You can go all the way,’ and I said, ‘No sir, I don’t have a ticket.’ He said, ‘you just stay with your momma; I’ve got an extra ticket. And I am going to give it to you,’ and he gave me that so I could stay with my momma. I wasn’t leaving her. I was going to stay where I knew she would be coming back out and I could stay with her, pick her back up.”
Stover said they were fortunate to be seated in the same section as some famous personalities, including Carey Washington, Wendell Pierce and Jamie Foxx among others.
Tremain Dupree, who made the trip in 2008, brought her children, with her this trip.
“My thing was this was an experience for them,” said Dupree. “I had already done it. The boys weren’t old enough to do it last time so I took them this time. We go with this guy that hangs out with us had just retired from the military. And we are standing down here. You think of stuff you want to tell about history. We were excited about celebrating Dr. King’s birthday and on and on and on. We get down here, in the mall. We were some of the first people there in the middle.”
“That guy said ‘what all do you see?’ I tried to let the kids answer because I am excited anyway. They didn’t say anything.”
II said, ‘I don’t know what they see,’” said Dupree. “But what I see today there is no division down there. There is unity.’”
“He said, ‘Just think, any nationality, anybody who wants to is standing beside you here today.’ And I said ‘that is what I love, there was no hatred, everybody was sharing food, water, everything!”
According to Dupree, volunteers handed out flags to those in attendance.
“There were enough flags there for everybody to have two or three,” said Dupree. “They were passing out flags like they do in school, so the kids were excited about that. It was educational because you hear people talking about what their grandparents did and just little stuff they don’t get to hear at school or they don’t get to see and I was telling them ‘Do you think if you were back at home we could all get in a big wad like this and everybody get along? No!’”
“There was unity, everybody was at peace and everybody was having fun!” said Dupree.
“I just think everybody is supposed to be at peace,” said Dupree. “Everybody has some kind of prejudice. There is too much division and I hate that. It will never die. But that day it didn’t matter if you were black polka dot, pink, green it didn’t matter where you came from, we were all there together.”