Why Did You Come to Obama’s Second Inauguration?

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Jan. 21 2013 6:35 PM

Why Did You Come to Obama’s Second Inauguration?

The first one was history-making. So, why did people make the trip for Obama’s second inauguration?

There’s no going back to 2009. President Obama’s first inauguration was one for the record books. People traveled to see the country’s first black president take the oath of office. They came looking for “hope and change.” But, after four bruising years and with political partisanship off the charts, why bother with the second inaugural?  

Ryan Diehl and a friend on the Mall
Ryan Diehl, right, and a friend on the Mall

EMMA ROLLER/Slate.

Ryan Diehl, 23, Hays, Kan.

"I have friends that live up here and decided to come up for the inauguration. … Not necessarily celebrating, but just to experience it.”

Judah Shapiro
Judah Shapiro

EMMA ROLLER/Slate.

Judah Shapiro, 56, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

“I think the second inauguration is almost as important as the first one. ... In a way, it's as important because the rejection if he would have lost, it would have set back things in a really bad way. It would have been misinterpreted as people not supporting progressive policies."

Fern Gray
Fern Gray

EMMA Roller/Slate.

Fern Gray, 28, Trinidad and Tobago

“Given the difficulties of the past four years, I think it shows that folks here support the mandate that he has and are willing to really be behind all the policies that he wants to get done in the next four years.”

Mac Ahmed
Mac Ahmed

EMMA ROLLER/Slate.

Mac Ahmed, Atlanta, Ga.

“Fun! Enjoyment."

The Cooley family
The Cooley family

EMMA ROLLER/Slate.

Deliska Cooley, 39; Sydni Cooley, 13; Skyla Cooley, 11; Munford, Ala.

"Basically we wanted to bring the girls to be a part of history. We came four years ago, and they were too small, and so we decided to bring them this time."

Michelle Williams Anthony Martin Sweet
Michelle Williams (left), her grandson Anthony Martin Sweet (front), and family and friends attend the festivities on the Mall.

EMMA ROLLER/Slate.

Michelle Williams, 51, Seattle

“This is historic, and it's more historic that I get to bring my grandson. To share this event with him, witness it with him—that means a lot because it's something that he'll remember always and I'll remember always."

Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.

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