Two Oklahomans Witness History At Presidential Inauguration

Monday, January 21st 2013, 10:11 pm
By: News On 6

The White House is estimating 1 million people watched the inauguration in person.

And Monday, a member of the Cherokee Nation witnessed his sixth presidential inauguration.

It's an historic event that packed the nation's capitol: the 57th presidential inauguration.

"The energy was incredible. Everybody was so alive and so motivated," said attendee Jonathan Townsend.

Four years ago, Tulsa native Townsend was just a student at ORU, watching the inauguration from campus.

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Now, he's standing on the Capitol grounds.

"Being a young man from Oklahoma, not really being exposed to the Capitol or things in Washington before, and to have the opportunity to see it up close and just to feel the energy, I felt is something I'll never forget," Townsend said.

Townsend is working toward his master's degree at OSU Tulsa and hopes to one day be a politician.

He says listening to President Obama speak in person is just the motivation he needs.

"For him to be the first one that I've seen and to also be the first one that I voted for when I became voting age, it was so appropriate that it was him that I had a chance to share this experience," Townsend said.

Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Member Joe Byrd hasn't missed an inauguration since President Clinton took his first oath of office.

"It's still exciting. No matter how many times I've been," Byrd said. "To actually be there and listen to the President speak, it still gives you cold chills."

And to make the occasion even more special, it happened to fall on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which President Obama mentioned a few times during his speech.

"He touched on some of that, of how we as a nation, no matter what creed, color, we have to come together if we want to move this country forward," Byrd said.

"The overall tone really was about everybody coming together and unity within our nation," Townsend said.

Townsend said he wants to thank Senator Jabar Shumate for helping him get a ticket to the inauguration.

And Byrd sends his thanks to Congressman Markwayne Mullin.