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Local Women Attend Inauguration

By Staff | Jan 28, 2009

Judy Cecil and daughter Barb Day display their various momentos and souvenirs from their trip to the see the inauguration of President Barack Obama. (Photo by Amy Witschey)

Barb Day of Wileyville described the experience of witnessing President Barack Obama’s inauguration differently than most. “It was closure,” she said.

The first-time political activist made the journey to Washington, D.C., with her mother, Judy Cecil, to witness one of the most anticipated and viewed political events ever.

Day said she was never very interested in politics before, but said, “With him it was so easy because he was so inspiring,” said Day.

In fact, the thought of Obama in the White House began for Day when she and her husband watched Obama on television give the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention. They were mesmerized by this political newcomer and said right then that they were looking at the man who would be the first African-American President.

Obviously they were right, but that vision didn’t become a reality without the help of many people across the country like Day.

Barb Day of Wileyville took this photograph of the nation’s Capitol during the inauguration of President Barack Obama. While she and her mother were obviously a fair distance from the podium, they were aided in their quest to witness history with tickets to a restricted area provided by Congressman Allan Mollohan.

She had become involved with the campaign through the internet and the Web site mybarackobama.com. She then attended a statewide meeting in Flatwoods which led to getting involved with the chapter in the Ohio Valley.

When asked if she had ever been involved in politics before, Day said, “Never. Didn’t care. Didn’t want to be in it.” But she said Obama “was able to make me feel like I knew him and that I was important and he cared about my needs.”

That is the kind of charisma that many people speak of when talking about the new President. He was able to engage people who had never been involved with politics before.

In fact, Day said the woman who started the Wheeling chapter of Obama supporters had never even voted before.

The energy was contagious across the country and in Wetzel County. “She got me involved, which was unusual,” said Cecil.

But political activism is nothing new to this family. Day’s grandmother, Nova Lee Cecil, was on the Democratic Executive Committee. “She was one of those that wouldn’t vote for a Republican if your life depended on it,” explained Cecil.

On the day after the general election, Day said she put in her request for tickets to the inauguration. “I just had to be there. It was pride that I helped make it happen,” said Day.

However, her name was placed on a long waiting list.On Jan. 13, one week before the inauguration, Congressman Allan Mollohan himself called Day to tell her that she had moved up the waiting list for tickets to a restricted area for the inaugural ceremonies and he had two of the six tickets she had requested. However, there was a slight catch. They had to be picked up by Jan. 19. With no other option, the ladies drove to Washington on the Thursday before the inauguration to retrieve the tickets, only to board a charter bus a few days later in Wheeling to make the trip to witness history.

While the trip was long, the temperature was cold, and the city was crowded, nothing could tarnish the experience for these new political activists.

“It was more like, ‘Wow! We’re really here!'” exclaimed Day of the experience she said she’ll never forget.

“It was wonderful,” echoed Cecil.