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TAMPA - Carolyn Collins sat on her couch the night Barack Obama was elected president and thought about her late parents, who had drilled into her that she had the right to vote.From New York:
Then she thought about her 18-year-old grandson, who had called her with pride the day he got his voter registration card. Suddenly, Collins said, "my hands flew up and the tears began flowing."
The next day she put her name on five different lists of people seeking tickets to Obama's inauguration, set for Jan. 20. Active in Florida A&M University alumni groups and the Hillsborough County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, she's hopeful. But tickets or no tickets, she and her husband are heading to Washington to get as close as they can to the ceremony.
"We just want to be there," she said.
When Susan Gilbert was 10, her parents bundled their seven children into the family car and drove to Washington to witness John F. Kennedy's funeral procession.And from North Carolina:
Forty-five years later, on Jan. 20, most of those brothers and sisters, plus many from the family's next generation, expect to gather again in the nation's capital, this time for Barack Obama's inauguration.
"My parents are deceased but they would have been out there working for Obama," said Gilbert, principal of Siwanoy elementary school in Pelham. "My mother is smiling, I know. ... I'm doing it for them."
Pattie Brew, daughter of a North Carolina sharecropper, had let almost a century go by without casting a vote for president or joining the inaugural crowds only three miles from her home in the nation's capital.
"I never had no interest in it because my vote don't matter anyway, so I never even took the time to fool with it," said the 97-year-old woman known as Mother Brew. "I knew white people had the right of way here, you know."
But on Nov. 4, she slipped on white gloves and pearls and found her way to a polling booth. And on Jan. 20, she wants to see the country's first inauguration of a black president — not from a couch at home but from somewhere closer by.
"So much history in this, honey," Brew said. "You gonna get me a ticket?