By CONNIE ESHThe Wilson Post
Several Wilson County residents are planning what may be the trip of a lifetime by traveling to Washington, D.C. to see for themselves the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African American elected as President of the United States.
District 20 County Commissioner Annette Stafford plans to take her mom, Louvenia Dixon, her daughter, Ranesa Shipman, and her 13-year-old granddaughter, Hailey Stafford, along to see the parade and inauguration.
“I want her to be able to tell my great-grandchildren she saw the first African American President take the oath,” Stafford said.
Brother David Meek, pastor of Market Street Church of Christ, is taking 11 people along in his 15-passenger van. He and his wife and daughter will be taking four grandchildren, MaZaria Frierson, 7; Brianna Meek, 10; Freedarius Wade, 13; and Mayah Meek, a sophomore at Middle Tennessee State University.
The Meek family, who received their invitation through U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon’s office, will be staying with relatives in Annapolis, Md.
The Stafford family is going because of a promise Stafford made to Hailey.
Hailey’s birthday is in July and this past summer at her party Stafford, her grandmother, asked her what she wanted for her next birthday. Hailey said she didn’t know, and as a kind off-the-cuff statement Stafford said “I know if Obama wins I’ll take you to the inauguration.”
“I didn’t expect to actually take her, but then election night before I saw the results she called me. ‘Grandma we’re going to Washington,’ she said. And I looked and decided she was right.”
Both Meek and Stafford have been given lists of things not to take and not to do on Jan. 20, too.
Prohibited items include, of course, weapons, but also no backpacks, sticks or poles, coolers, bags, suitcases larger than 8-fee-by6-feet-by4-feet and no strollers or umbrellas. Alcoholic beverages, hand tools like “Leatherman tools,” sharp objects, aerosol cans, packages and glass containers are also forbidden.
Also included in the instructions are cautions that people attending the inauguration will need to dress very warmly and be prepared to stand for at least six hours and deal with long delays leaving the Washington area.
Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.