Passengers: Bus Trip To D.C. Was Worth It

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A caravan of four buses from Louisville, Ky., arrived in Washington, D.C., in time for Tuesday's inauguration ceremonies. From the National Mall, the passengers witnessed the swearing in of Barack Obama, the nation's first black president. One man said he wouldn't trade the trip for anything.


NPR's Ina Jaffe was also at the National Mall yesterday. She arrived on one of four buses that came in a caravan from Louisville, Kentucky.

(Soundbite of choir singing "America the Beautiful")

INA JAFFE: At 9.30 in the morning yesterday, the National Mall was already jammed. Yet despite the festival atmosphere, Kim White(ph) never lost sight of the reason she was there.

Ms. KIM WHITE: When I was 11 or 12 at a little small movie theater in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and as an African-American I had to go to the balcony. And I actually remember seeing fountains black and white - I remember that.

JAFFE: Like everyone else on the Mall, Kim White stopped talking when Barack Obama took the oath.

Chief Justice JOHN ROBERTS (Supreme Court): So help you God.

President OBAMA: So help me God.

JAFFE: And with that Anne Reynolds(ph) knew that Obama had already created change in her.

Ms. ANNE REYNOLDS: I hadn't worn red, white, and blue for over 20, 30 years, and I didn't say the pledge of allegiance with the liberty and justice for all. So, maybe I'll stand up and say it now.

JAFFE: The Mall had filled up gradually and then emptied all at once. The wind picked up, the sun went behind the clouds, and the walk back to the buses was bone-chilling and slow. So what? Nate Jones(ph) was relaxing and waiting for the 14-hour ride home to Louisville.

Mr. NATE JONES: Even though I wasn't in the front row, but it don't matter.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. JONES: I was here.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. JONES: That's the main thing that matters. Just electricity. While everybody was there it was warm. When it was over with it got cold. It was, yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

JAFFE: Though Jones seemed pretty warm again, reliving the memories of the day. Ina Jaffe, NPR News, Washington, D.C.

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