My daughter and I traveled to Washington, D.C. to see the inauguration with the Martin Luther King Jr Commission from the State of Arkansas.
The travel involved a grueling 22 hour bus ride with three driver changes and a host of challenges involving security, changing guidance and massive crowds.
I will never be the same because of my experience. My words would just be another trite effort at describing how I felt, how I feel now, and what I experienced, but on the bus I met a young man, his two brothers and his Mother.
What follows are the words of youngster and I think sum up everything I felt. Please share his words with your friends and wait for the follow-up piece describing his feelings after the inauguration.
So James, as promised:
Before the Inauguration
by James Napoleon Hicks Jr
I'm racing down the stairs as my brothers wait for the elevator to open; time is running down and the elevators are full.
See I'm going to see Obama, and I don't care what anyone says.
I'm going to see him, I'm not waiting on the elevator.
I'm going to see him not on the video, but in person.
I'm going to see him cross the stage and be inaugurated, and nobody understands it like I do.
Barack Obama, and one day I'm going to meet him.
Just a few days ago, I was on the front page of the Arkansas newspaper
(see: http://tinyurl.com/dj4c44 )
as 'we are but determined', but today I'm wide awake.
My eyes can not grow wider than they are now.
I'm rushing food down my throat, trying not to swallow the paper, "UGH".
I'm ready for the inauguration.
I have my Barack Obama cap with my Barack Obama shirt and my Barack Obama wristband.
Then for the cold weather, I have a black warm hat, black warm gloves, brown boots, two shirts, one t-shirt, thermal underwear, and two long warm socks on each leg.
I am heated up for watching the inauguration.
Let me mention my setting.
It's exactly 5:00 am on the roads of Washington as our bus gains ground to the x-point, the National Mall.
The moon shines over Washington.
Enthusiasm is just bubbling inside me as I become inspired.
Obama went through criticism and never backed down, so why do I have to give up?
I want to be like Obama as an adolescent and when I grow up.
I have the power to work harder and harder.
So I'm going to use my "God given" talent
help people and make history.
(more pictures of the trip including those of James, his Mother Sherese Hicks, and his brothers: