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Story helps teacher get up close view of history

Last week, America made history again after swearing in the 44th president of the United States President Barack Husain Obama for his second term in office, a moment local high school math teacher Sandra Garner Coleman knew she had to participate in.

Thanks to a story that appeared in The Gazette on the Friday before the inauguration, Garner Coleman had an up close and personal view of this year’s inauguration that she described as a “climactic” event.

Garner Coleman was so determined to see this moment in history unfold, she made plans with friends and family to make the pilgrimage to the nation’s capitol despite the fact she didn’t have tickets.

That all changed Friday after the story appeared, and Coleman, who previously attended the 56th inauguration in memory of her father, got a call from Sen. Mark Warner offering her five tickets to the 57th inauguration.

“They called, and at first I almost didn’t answer the phone because it had U.S. Capital, so I said oh no, I don’t want to talk. I thought it was somebody wanting some money, but it was Senator Warner’s administrative assistant calling, and she said the senator wanted me to be his preferred guest,” Garner Coleman said.

She was instructed to pick up the tickets from Senator Warner’s office in the Russell Senate building on Constitution Avenue across from the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

“You had to show your I.D., and then they took you through a little spill about what you could or could not bring and what time you had to be at the inauguration,” Garner Coleman said.

Coleman said her seats for the inauguration were located in the “green section” located about 50 to 100 yards from where the president stood.

“Even though we weren’t that far away from him, we could still only see a silhouette,” Garner Coleman said.

They were still close enough to witness the swearing in.

Security was really tight this time compared to the last inauguration, she said, but then she understood why after hearing the president had received 40,000 death threats.

Garner Coleman said despite the tight security the presidential couple still marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The experience was everything she had hoped it would be.

“It was just the thrill of him being there and the start of his second term. His speech was just breathtaking. His speech dealt with unification, uniting people based on the foundation our forefathers put in place that we are united as a people and the union for the people and by the people. He wants the people of the United States to feel like there are no big I’s and little u’s,” Garner Coleman said. “He wants everybody to have a fair playing ground from the smallest to the greatest person. He doesn’t want people discriminated against because of their race, creed, color or sexual orientation. He just wants everyone to be treated fairly and to eliminate as much discrimination as he can.”