Ethel J. Crawford is home after attending the inauguration of President Barak Obama in Washington D.C. Accompanying Crawford was her daughter Lynnda Hunter, grandson Henry B. Hunter and family friend Demetria Wynn.

The group left Dallas on Jan. 15 and visited Elizabeth City and Atlantic City, N.J. as well as Statton Island and Manhattan, N.Y. They arrived in Washington D.C. on Jan. 18 and were able to take pictures all around the capital area before they checked in for their stay at the Gaylord Resort Hotel.

Monday, Jan. 19 was another day of touring and they happened to be in an area that the police blocked off and the President’s motorcade came up the street and turned so he could go in the Blair House. They didn’t get to see him but saw the Cadillac and his entourage of SUV’s.

Monday night, they attended the Black Tie and Boots Ball sponsored by the National Texas Society.

Senator John Cornyn is president of the society and served as the master of ceremonies. He introduced several Texas dignitaries including Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

Denzel Washington was the featured speaker. He paid tribute to the men and women serving in the Armed Forces and those who had lost their lives in service to their country. He had acted in several military movies so he had great respect for the Armed Forces. When he talked about his movie “The Great Debaters,” he mentioned that part of it was shot in Palestine.

Here is more of her first-person account:

For dancing and listening, Neal McCoy and his band did the first set in the ballroom where we were, and Asleep at the Wheel was televised from the room next door.

The buffets had endless supplies of Tex-Mex and the bars never ran dry.

Tuesday, Jan. 20: Inauguration Day, we took a shuttle bus from the resort to the train. Our plan was to get off at Le’Fant Plaza and walk over to 7th and Independence. The police would not let us do this, so we had to follow the crowd to the Mall.

We could see we were not going to get a good spot on the Mall, so we were trying to get to the parade route. However, we ended up on a hill close to the Washington Monument. We couldn’t see the platform but we did hear all of the ceremony.

We decided to go back to the resort and watch the parade on television. It took us about an hour to get back because of the number of people who decided to do the same thing.

Tuesday night, I attended the Fallen Solider, Africa International and Prince George’s County Ball. This affair featured a very formal banquet meal. Mayors, delegates and other elected officials from the area were there and some of the attendees had paid as much as $900 for their tickets.

Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin started the entertainment phase, followed by radio and television star Steve Harvey, a youth group from Atlanta, Ga. that had written some songs for the President, praise dancers and Patti LaBelle, who brought the crowd to their feet during her set. This was followed by performances by the O’Jays and Fantasia.

All the activities during this memorable occasion were experiences that will not be forgotten. We were there.

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Ethel J. Crawford is a retired Palestine Independent School District teacher.

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