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Valley residents say bus trip is beginning of better future



Published: Tue, January 20, 2009 @ 10:40 p.m.

Many feel the presidential journey begins with the coming together of millions at the inauguration.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN — Robert Curd, 65, of Boardman, boarded a bus for a five-hour trip Tuesday in hopes of seeing one of his lifelong visions fulfilled.

Curd is one of 88 Youngstown-area residents who climbed aboard buses in the early hours and headed to Washington, D.C., in hopes of getting a glimpse of Barack Obama as he takes the oath of presidential office.

Some came in pajamas prepared to relax before what would undoubtedly be a day filled with lots of walking and little time for rest. Others were dressed in clothes that would provide warmth against the night air and frigid weather expected in the nation’s capital — including several knitted hats declaring Obama the nation’s 44th president.

Curd said he got on the bus Tuesday because Obama’s victory is a reminder of something that crossed his mind years ago as a younger person fresh out of high school and looking at limited job opportunities for young black men.

Curd entered the military and gained a new perspective on race relations.

“Years ago I entered the Army, and that was when everything was segregated and blacks couldn’t do this or that or go certain places, but I noticed a lot of the top sergeants were black. I thought, ‘What is so wrong with my people that we can guard the country but not run the country?’” he said.

Everyone aboard the two buses chartered by members of Jerusalem Baptist Church and headed for Washington had his or her own reasons for making the trip, but everyone had support for the new administration and hope for the country.

Kitty Monroe, one organizer of the trip, said she and her husband, Ricky, worked on the Obama campaign. She said many people believe that Obama will be the start to a revitalized economy that will carry over to future generations.

“We wanted to be part of this historic moment. We have been following and supporting Obama since we realized he was running. We believe he was sent by God and will make big changes in our and our children’s lives,” said Kitty Monroe. “We’ve come from slavery to the White House.”

Responding to Kitty Monroe’s comments, several people on the bus declared there would be a long road to travel even with Obama in the White House.

For those on the bus, that road began with the five-hour trek to see the inauguration.

jgoodwin@vindy.com


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