Local woman and family attend inauguration
RIVERSIDE - If there's any word to sum up how Laurie Fitzpatrick felt when she watched the presidential inauguration Monday in person in the nation's capital, it's pride.
"It was so moving," the Riverside woman said Tuesday evening by telephone.
She, her husband, Matthew, their two children, 7-year-old Erin and 10-year-old Megan, and her mother-in-law, Linda, of New York, were approximately the length of a football field away from the stage between the Capitol and the reflecting pool where president Barack Obama was sworn in Monday. They were so far away, they watched the event via video screens.
"If you squinted really hard, you could see someone at the podium," Laurie joked.
The family of five was provided with tickets to the ceremony through state Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108), who got the tickets from U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-11).
Fitzpatrick said she and Culver went to high school together, and she helped the representative in her election campaigns. She also is involved in discussions about early childhood education issues and is the president of Home and School Organization at Danville Primary School.
Being interested in politics since President Bill Clinton was in office, Fitzpatrick said she was thrilled when Culver offered the tickets.
"I couldn't speak," she said, noting she initially only made hand motions to her husband when she got off the phone with Culver.
Two moments of Obama's inaugural address stuck out to Fitzpatrick: when the president said everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, should have equal rights under the eyes of the law, and when he commented on the American dream of immigrants.
"Living in the community near Danville, I see that a lot," she said, noting the many physicians who come from other countries to practice medicine at Geisinger Medical Center. "They wouldn't come here if it's not a better place to live, and train, and a better place to be."
Her mother-in-law is 70, and never went to Washington, D.C., before, Fitzpatrick said.
"She's not an Obama supporter, but she decided it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, to see democracy in action. She told me later she was so glad she went," she said.