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Missouri State Holds Inauguration Watch Party

On Tuesday morning, well over one million people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. while millions of others watched from their couches. Many students, faculty and children gathered together on the Missouri State University campus to watch the historic Inauguration of Barack Obama. KSMU’s Nathan McVay was there and reports.

The Plaster Student Union Theatre on the Missouri State University campus erupted with applause, and some had tears in their eyes as the first African-American took the Oath of the Presidency.

Some students skipped class to attend, while MSU faculty member Ruth Barnes didn’t give her students that option.

“I cancelled one of my classes and told the students they should come. Because it is such a historic occasion for people of your generation. I think this is the moment of your lifetimes,” she said

The atmosphere was filled with anticipation and celebration. Daniel Bunch was a chapter coordinator for Students for Barack Obama and spent the last two years of his life campaigning. He says today is an especially significant day for him.

“You can sit there and say, I’ve been apart of that. I stood up when I didn’t have to. It would have been a whole lot easier for me to sit at home and say someone else could take care of it. But it feels so much better today knowing I was a part of it,” he said.

Not all of the attendees at the watch party were MSU students and faculty. Timberlie Gill is an African-American student who attends Ozarks Technical Community College. She said she wanted to witness history and celebrate with a large crowd.

“It has been over 40 some years since the civil rights movement and look how long it has taken us to get a black president. And a lot of people said it couldn’t be done, a lot of black people thought it couldn’t be done. So yeah, it is a day of celebration,” she said.

“Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations. Thank you, God bless you and God bless the United States of America”

Another African-American in attendance was Shante McDowell. She says although this moment means the world to her, it means even more for her 5 year-old daughter.

“I doubt that if this had not happen that we would not be able to experience the freedom that we have now. Because everyone says if Barack can be the first black president then you can be anything. So its almost like setting a standard now for African Americans, resetting the standard that Dr. Martin Luther King set us. Barack is repaving the way again.” She said.

For KSMU news, I’m Nathan McVay.