Bay Area Peeps Flock to D.C.

Crowds are descending on Washington, D.C., for President-elect  Barack Obama's inauguration as the nation's 44th president and among them are  numerous Bay Area residents.

One of the most excited groups of locals in Washington may be the  San Francisco Boys and Girls choruses, who are scheduled to perform at  Obama's swearing-in ceremony Tuesday.

Boys chorus member Dominique Shaw, 13, said he was honored to be  one of the members chosen for the trip.

The group arrived Friday and performed Saturday for Sen. Dianne  Feinstein, Shaw said.

This is Shaw's first time in Washington. "It's cool out here," he  said. "So many different old buildings."

He said he is looking forward to having Obama as president.

"We'll finally get the big change that we need," Shaw said.

About 80 students from Fremont's Centerville Junior High School  are also in town. Science teacher Jason Davis said trips to the D.C. area are  organized each year but this one stands out.

The election of Obama "kind of captured the kids' attention," he  said.

The students were visiting the Newseum on Saturday afternoon after  stopping by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and planned to  visit the International Spy Museum today.

Eighth-grader Nolan Petersen, 13, is happy to be here.

"I was looking forward to it a lot," he said. "It's good to be  here with your friends."

Roquell Martinez, 13, and Rachel Cortez, 14, said they arrived  Saturday morning and had gotten two hours' sleep.

They both said they feel lucky to be able to visit the capital for  such a momentous occasion.

"Not everyone gets to do that," Martinez said.

"For such an historical occasion," Cortez interjected.

This afternoon, San Francisco resident Michelle Sison, 34, bought  an American flag from a vendor at the base of the Washington Monument.

She was one of millions who showed up to watch an all-star  inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial featuring the likes of Bruce  Springsteen, Beyonce and Bono of U2.

She came early and made it into the main concert area near the  Reflecting Pool but left to watch the show on screens from the less-crowded  hill where the Washington Monument sits.

Sison volunteered as a captain at the Obama headquarters in San  Francisco during the campaign.

Asked what Obama's victory means to her, Sison, who is Filipina,  hesitated.

"That's so hard to put into words," she said, adding that she  recently discussed that question with a friend who is black.

"Being people of color, finally we feel like we're seen as  American citizens."

She was interrupted by applause from the crowd as Vice  President-elect Joe Biden appeared on a nearby screen and spoke briefly about  dignity.

Sison said she has felt an overwhelming optimism from the people  around her since she arrived in Washington.

"Definitely the hope is there," she said.

The crowed cheered as Obama came out this afternoon to speak in  front of the Lincoln Memorial and then a hush fell over the masses.

"What gives me hope is what I see when I look across this Mall,"  Obama said.

He credited the people "who came here because you believed in what  this county can be and you want to help us get there."

"As I prepare to assume the presidency yours are the voices I will  take with me."

Copyright BAYCN - Bay City News
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