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Generations rejoice from home



Published: Wed, January 21, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By KATIE SEMINARA

People cheered ‘Obama, Obama,’ at ‘The Valley Gold Show’ studio’s inauguration celebration.

YOUNGSTOWN — When Shatasia Walker, 16, of Youngstown, was in seventh grade she wrote a report on Barack Obama.

Four year later, Shatasia watched the man she chose as a role model take the oath to become president of the United States.

She watched alongside her mother, Carol Freeman, 42, and 80-year-old grandmother, Betty Walker.

“I loved it,” exclaimed Shatasia of President Obama’s speech.

The three generations embraced one another Tuesday and cheered the first family during an inauguration celebration hosted by Debor’ah Benton at “The Valley Gold Show” studio in Youngstown.

A group of more than 70 people watched the ceremonies intently and shared the moment of history together at the National City Bank building.

“I just wanted to be with the community, rather than sit in front of my own TV,” said Eboni Bogan Tate, 32, of Youngstown.

Having an “educated African-American couple” representing the country is encouragement for people to follow their dreams, said Tate — noting that the Obamas’ success makes her want to finish her education.

“It’s such an important day,” she said. “I knew I was going to cry.”

Tate wasn’t the only person wiping tears away when Obama was first shown on the big screen. Chants of “Obama, Obama,” echoed in the studio. Following the words “so help me God,” more tears of joy fell while neighbors hugged neighbors.

“This was the next best thing to being there,” said Francine Ray, 54, of Youngstown, who watched the inauguration with her husband, Alvin.

Now is the time for the country to pull together and the time for citizens to help one another, she said.

“I appreciate the history and the coming together of all nations and colors,” Francine Ray said. “You’ve got to stand for something; if not, you’ll fall. We’ve got to stand together.”

During President Obama’s speech, cheers and celebrating subsided as his words were absorbed.

“His speech was way more emotional than I ever thought and was reminiscent of [Martin Luther] King [Jr.], yet very presidential,” said Tate.

“He let us know that it’s not going to be pretty or a bed of roses, but we’ll get through it,” she said of challenges facing the country.


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