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Locals attend President Obama's inauguration
Two Ceres women and a Hughson couple were among those who gathered on the west side of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 21 for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Madeline Henry and Stephanie Muci, both 2010 graduates and salutatorians of Central Valley High School, were in the Nation's Capitol for the historic event. So were Roger and Carol Frazier, Hughson residents.

The crowd braved typically cold winter East Coast weather - daytime high of 41 degrees -- to watch the Inaugural ceremonies, which included performances by James Taylor, Beyonce, and Kelly Clarkson singing the National Anthem.

"The experience as a whole was really amazing," said Henry, who was too far to see the podium but saw the festivities on giant screen TVs. "There were so many people everywhere throughout the city all weekend long and the atmosphere was great. I was at the national mall the weekend before and it was practically empty; so seeing it change from that to being so crowded everywhere was cool it seemed like the whole city was focused on the inauguration. The entire ceremony from the swearing-in to the speech and the performances went smoothly and were great. It was great to be there for a moment in history. How many people actually get to attend the inauguration of a president?"

The ceremony included the swearing-in of Vice President Joe Biden for a second term and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. administering the oath for a fourth time to Obama. In 2009 Obama was administered the oath a second time after it was botched on Inauguration Day. This year Obama was legally required to be sworn in at noon on Sunday, Jan. 20. The ceremonial event was postponed, however, to Monday, Jan. 21.

"Personally, his inaugural address was the highlight for me," said Muci, a student at Georgetown University. "It was amazing to be able to hear it in-person and listen to the cheers of almost a million people who were there to support him. I thought President Obama's address was inspiring and motivational, as he spoke about the times changing and the challenges we're going to face together as a country."

Observers say there was far less attendance at Obama's second inaugural from the first one commemorating the first-ever inauguration of an African-American president.

Henry and Muci were unable to leave the inauguration to see the Obamas walk down Pennsylvania Avenue because the crowd had to exit in an opposite direction.

Madeline Henry, daughter of Ron and Lisa Henry of Ceres, is a U.C. Davis student who is spending this quarter as a Washington, D.C. legislative intern through the "UC DC" program that placed her with the University California Office of Federal Governmental Relations. She will return to the Valley at the end of March.

Also attending with Madeline were her aunt, Susan Leone, and grandmother Amy Rodgers, who are Ceres natives now living in San Diego.