“It’s been a long time coming,” said 86-year-old Jimmie Wilson as he watched the inauguration of Barack Obama Tuesday. “I never thought I’d live to see this, but God works in mysterious ways.”
Wilson and nine other citizens sat in the Senior Citizen Center next to the Mt. Olive AME Church in Slidell, excited over the historic event they were watching on the small color television.
Wilson is African-American, and Obama’s inauguration was very special for him. He had a constant grin on his face as he watched.
“I’m very happy about this, and this will make life easier for my children and grandchildren,” Wilson said.
The room erupted in applause as first Sen. Joe Biden took his oath for vice president, and then Obama was sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
“I like what he has to say,” said Francis Monroe, 80, after the president’s inaugural speech. “I’m really impressed with his talk.”
“He is fantastic,” gushed Elaine Fischbein, a Bay St. Louis, Miss., transplant who has lived in Slidell since Hurricane Katrina. “I feel more confident about the future of the country.”
Doris Lutz, 80, who is from New York state and has lived in Slidell for 18 years, was even more enthusiastic about the inauguration. Though a registered Republican, Lutz said she voted for Obama.
“This is one of the greatest things I have ever seen,” Lutz said.
Though most of the small group was happy with the new president’s speech, there were some who were a bit skeptical and have a wait-and-see attitude.
After all, as Monroe said, this group has lived through 16 presidents, and they have seen it all.
“Well, he can sure talk the talk,” said 85-year-old World War II veteran Cassidy James. “But he’s got four years to walk the walk.”
James said he voted for Obama because he is against war, and he wants to see U.S. troops out of Iraq, a promise made by Obama.
“If Congress goes along with him, I think he’ll get something done,” James said.
Louis Blazek, 82, was less optimistic, though he was impressed with Obama’s oratory skills.
“I’m enthused about him, he sounded good, but he’s got a long way to go, and all I can say is God help him,” Blazek said.
Helen Harper, a 30-year resident of Slidell also said she was impressed, but to her, the proof is in the pudding.
“I’m from Missouri,” Harper said. “You got to show me first. I hope he can live up to that wonderful speech.”
All the senior spectators agreed the country was ready for a change, and President Obama promised that change.
In front of the Mt. Olive AME Church is a sign that reads: “In time, some dreams do come true.”
For Wilson, this historic event was just what the country needed, and for him a dream turned reality.