For Gale and Melcha Satchel, of Sheffield, Monday was a perfect day for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.
From the weather with its sun and unusually tolerable temperatures in the high 40s, to the smiles and excitement of the crowd estimated at about 1 million, the Satchels, along with their young son, M.J., spent the day taking in the atmosphere of their first inauguration.
“The whole day has been fabulous,” Gale said mid-afternoon on Monday. “There’s something about this atmosphere that makes people so very happy, makes them accommodating to others. Everyone was really just having a good time. And (Obama’s) speech lined up perfectly with my views of less talk and more action. He stressed unity and that’s what it’s all about. We’re one nation, the United States, not the divided states. We need to get back to living like that.”
She described large monitors throughout the crowd so that all could see what was going on. Stationed about 15 feet from one such monitor, she said she couldn’t have had a better view, nor felt safer because “security was everywhere.”
The Satchels were part of a group from the Shoals, 54 strong, attending inaugural festivities. Florence resident Pat Brewer organized the bus trip to Washington, D.C.
For Brewer, the 13-hour bus ride to the nation’s capital city was worth it for the opportunity to be a part of history.
“I attended in 2009 and it was sheer excitement, with close to 2 million people there,” Brewer said. “This time, the crowd was estimated at about 800,000, but that’s OK, it’s still history in the making and I was a part of it.”
Brewer said her experience Monday culminated with the inaugural parade, which entailed a lengthy wait in line and passing through various security checkpoints.
“Everyone in line was tired and hungry because it has been a pretty long day up to that point, but it was all good. All worth it,” she said.
As for Obama’s speech, Brewer said his main theme was one of hope.
“He talked about brotherhood and how we’re all in this together. He spoke about us Americans caring for each other and how that’s the answer to a lot of the issues in society today,” Brewer said.
Melcha Satchel called the inauguration experience “beautiful.”
“He really keyed on unity, and right now there’s division in the county,” he said. “With the economy in such an uproar, we have to be one United States. He spoke of Social Security and its necessity and how support for such programs sets us apart. This experience really gives you new perspective and hope for a better, more united country.”
The group will return to the Shoals on Wednesday.
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.