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Washington D.C. packed as travelers arrive for Obama inauguration

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 20th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Visitors from across the nation have gathered to the Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C. While the public swearing-in of President Barack Obama for his second term takes place on Monday, the president was officially sworn in on Sunday with little fanfare.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  Many Americans have taken the day to pay homage to a man whose courageous fight against racial injustice paved the way for the nation's first black president.

While the inaugural remains first and foremost, the legacy of Dr. King is on many minds. "I believe in the dream that Martin Luther King had and I believe our president is trying to say that that dream has come true," visitor Earline Franklin says. "That is why King's birthday and Obama's inauguration happened to be on the same day. It's another reason why it was so important for me to be here," she said, noting that she was also at the president's first inauguration in 2009.

Unseasonably warm temperatures have brought many people out to enjoy the pleasant weather. People were all over the mall, flowing seamlessly between Lincoln and King Monuments.

Martin Luther King Day this year is even more poignant for many as Obama is being sworn in for a second term. Obama will pay homage to King's legacy on Monday by using the civil rights leader's personal bible during the public swearing-in.
"We have a black man that won a second time around. It was so fabulous. People thought it was a fluke the first time, but the record speaks for itself," Annie Ruth Phillips says, her coat decked out with Obama campaign buttons.

"Now a black kid can say I would like to be president. I can actually walk in the United States of America and feel like a first-class citizen and not be harassed and judged by the color of my skin," she said.

Among the crowd is Bud Reese from Memphis, Tennessee who recalled where he was when King was tragically shot at a Memphis hotel in 1968. "I was on the bus when Martin Luther King was shot. It was the 16 Forest Hill bus and I was heading home, "Reese said.

"I had marched with him a couple of weeks before when there were riots associated with the sanitation strike. People criticized him for leading a black march and going to a white hotel and not patronizing black business," Reese pointed out.

"When King came back for the next march, he stayed at a black owned motel [the Lorraine Motel] and that was where he was shot."

How Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would feel about a black man winning a second term as the president of the United States is foremost on many minds.

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