uggs boots on sale Valley residents head to Washington for inauguration
It’ll be freezing cold, crowded and uncomfortable but as many as 4 million people are expected to gladly brave it all for a chance to witness history.
Valleyites of all ages said they were ecstatic at the chance to see the former Illinois senator speak his first words as the country’s commander in chief, despite concerns about the temperature, tight security and an overwhelming number of other visitors,
“I think it’s going to be obviously a once in a lifetime experience,” said Evelyn Escamilla of McAllen. “We’re going to be in the mix no matter what the weather is like. It’s something we’ll be able to tell our kids and grandkids about.”
Some Valley residents, like Beverly Ashley Fridie of Edinburg, bought plane tickets and hotel rooms months before the Democratic Party even chose a presumptive nominee.
Others are making spur of the moment pilgrimages to the nation’s capital, hopping planes, bunking with friends or subletting apartments from enterprising locals.
John and Evelyn Escamilla’s fifth wedding anniversary was in December, but the couple will celebrate the event Tuesday in Washington. They found an apartment to sublet from a graduate student.
“I assume there’s a lot of people who did what we did,” John said. “You know, just go on impulse and figure it out when you get there.”
Fellow attendee Judith Solis may have also decided to attend the inauguration at the last minute, but few on the National Mall Tuesday will be better prepared than she.
The Rio Grande City prosecutor secured tickets to watch the inaugural address in a special section from a friend who couldn’t use them. She said she will stay with a cousin near the Pentagon and walk the four miles to Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning, carrying only her cell phone, a camera and her ID.
She has already prepared a host of warm weather items rarely seen or used in South Texas: brand new Ugg boots to keep her feet warm,
earmuffs, several pairs of gloves and a warm pair of jeans coated in a layer of Scotchguard to keep slushy snow from seeping through.
“I don’t want to be miserable,” she said. “I don’t want to ruin the event by not being prepared.”
Obama loyalists Nelva Sosa Slagle and Beverly Ashley Fridie will be partying in Washington with the VIPs.
Founding members of South Texas Democrats for Obama, Sosa Slagle, Ashley Fridie and their husbands have tickets to a few of the lavish inauguration balls, thanks to their efforts on behalf of the candidate.
Without a budget from the national campaign, Democrats for Obama volunteers threw their hearts and souls into boosting Obama’s visibility in the Valley.
They printed their own T shirts and buttons and after their candidate secured the nomination festooned the region with Obama/Biden campaign signs even as other local Democrats remained steadfastly loyal to Sen. Hillary Clinton.
So sure were they of their cause, they booked hotel rooms and plane tickets for the inauguration early last year.
In return for keeping the faith, the Obama campaign rewarded them with tickets to a host of events.
“Being there validates everything we worked for,” Sosa Slagle said.
Ashley Fridie said she will be on the east coast for an entire week in order to experience everything she can.
“I want to be at the Lincoln Memorial” for tonight’s planned concert with Beyonce Knowles and Denzel Washington, she said. “I want to participate in the balls.”
She also attended the president elect’s victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park in November.
“If it’s anything the way it felt in Chicago,” she said of the inauguration speech, “I’m not even going to feel the temperature.”
As one of several students chosen from the Valley to attend the Junior Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, Brandon Lowe, of Weslaco, has known for nearly a year that he would be present at the inauguration ceremonies.
But Obama will have to compete with actual astronauts for the 11 year old’s awed affections come Tuesday.
The 6th grader will attend speeches by former Vice President Al Gore and former Secretary of State and retired Gen. Colin Powell.