Washington_On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, the United States swore in a new leader, and Barack Obama became the 44th President at an inauguration extravaganza at the nation's capitol. It will go down in the history books as President Obama takes power as the first black President with a call for a "new era of responsibility" in America.
During Tuesday afternoon's inaugural parade, 7News he talked with a local high school student attending the historic occasion. Sixteen-year-old Comanche student Andrew Aldridge was one of 3,000 teens selected for the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference. Aldridge says he has never been to Washington, D.C., before, and found the experience almost overwhelming. "There were so many people there," he said via telephone. "It was so crazy that on Pennsylvania Avenue, right before they closed it down, you couldn't even turn around."
An estimated 1.4 million people attended the Inauguration - and, it was a diverse crowd. Aldridge said he was expecting diversity - but, not as much as he saw on Tuesday. "All kinds of generations were here," he said. "You see the older people in the wheelchairs rolling themselves down the streets, and you see adults bringing their babies - it's amazing to me how the generations are different here, and how many people there were there."
Millions of people coming together, not only for a new presidency, but for an historic occasion. "It's changed history, and you could see it in everybody's eyes that has attended this week," he said. "People are crying, people are shouting, people are walking down the street, people are chanting, 'A positive change, a positive change.' You can see the happiness in people's faces as they walk down the streets of Washington."
Aldridge says that during the weeks leading up to the election, he was not an Obama supporter. However, he says he was inspired by the new President's Inauguration speech, and supports him. "It was amazing to see, it gave me chills whenever he was taking the oath, and seeing how much he's been a positive inspiration in the lives of people in America, and across the world," said Aldridge. "So, today it was very touching to me, and it has really opened my eyes to see how he's influenced everybody else in the world."