By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Dozens of Tulsa students are on their way to Washington, DC, to attend Barack Obama's inauguration. Many more high schoolers are trying to get a good night's sleep before they fly to DC on Saturday morning.
The News On 6 spoke with high school students who were in fourth grade when President Bush was first elected. Even though they're young, they say going to Washington is a unique opportunity.
Millions of Americans will descend upon Capitol Hill next week for the inauguration, and they won't all be grown-ups.
"I've been on this earth for 18 years," said Randall Young, a Coweta High School senior. "It's going to hard for me to understand, to grasp the magnitude of the situation."
Young is one of two Coweta High School students who will see the ceremony in person. He says all of his friends are jealous, even his teachers, and he's hoping just to take it all in.
"It's going to be a memory that we're going to have for the rest of our lives, so early in our lives," Randall Young said. "As we get older we'll still have it, and hopefully, it's still going to affect us for the rest of our lives."
Eighteen-year-old Adam Holloway says he has spent more than $3,000 on plane fare and a hotel room. But coming from a town of fewer than 2,000 people, he says it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
"It's just real important for me to go because it's something that our community needs, needs to witness it," said Adam Holloway, a senior at Mannford High School.
In Tulsa, 85 members of the Union Junior ROTC program hopped onto the buses that will take them to Washington. They are marching in Tuesday's parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.
"It's just the inaugural parade, you know, in Washington, DC, and we're going to be in front of a nation basically of like 32 billion people," Junior ROTC member Zeth Millman said. "I just hope we don't mess up."
Dozens of Oklahoma teens, traveling by air or by bus, will witness history first-hand. The students say their flight leaves for DC at 9 a.m. Saturday. They will try to take in all the sights, sounds and museums in the nation's capital during the next five days.