Voices of Change

Here are reflections from people who braved the cold and crowds to witness the inauguration of the first African-American president.

Hassane Djimond, 26, of Kenya“I am honored to be here to witness a man that has the same blood as me be inaugurated as president of the United States.” Karey Jamison 32, of North Dakota“I wanted to bring my kids to Washington to be a part of history. Even though they are young at the moment, they will later know the importance of this day. I voted for Barack Obama because I wanted change, and now I’m just here to celebrate it” Lanay Pearson, 21, New York“I wanted more than anything to be apart of this celebration. Barack Obama is the president of the United States, and I am one of the voters who put him in office. And I am so, so proud!” Carlos Rodriguez, 22, Los Angeles“Obama did his thing, and I’m proud to be a man of color, Puerto Rican, because of him. He gives hope to all young men of color” Delores Hardy, 60, Tennessee“I’m here to witness Obama be sworn into the White House and to hear his speech. He is a loved and adored man, and I will be back for the next four years.” Sandy James, 19, Ohio“I’m here to see Barack Obama — no one else! He will be back; we are going to make it eight years.” Sally Mastrangelo, 28, Idaho“I’m here to see all of the festivities, the beautiful singing down on the National Mall and, most importantly, see this great man be sworn in as president.” Danny Davis, 21, New Hampshire“Oh wow, I’m here to just soak in everything! This is an honor to be able to even come witness this historical event, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I’m here with my family, grandmother, mother, aunts, uncles, and we planned this right after he was elected.” Yolanda Hill, 42, North Dakota“I came here to celebrate with Obama. He did it and changed America. Yes we can!”

Rachel Scone, 16, Seattle, Wash.“I just want to be here in D.C. to see Obama and be able to witness history so that I can remember this day my whole life.” Michelle Montgomery, 34, Texas“I was a Texan who voted for Obama ,and my vote did not go to waste. I traveled here on this bitter cold day to watch the ceremony this morning of him giving the oath and being sworn in as president. And I cannot wait to attend the black tie and boot ball.” Debra Payne, 62, South Carolina“I came to Washington with my daughters and grandkids, because I wanted to see this with my own two eyes. I never thought I’d see this day.”

Gregory Alexander, Harlem, N.Y. “Black men have a new standard to achieve. They can do anything now. It’s always been a mentality thing. Now it’s a reality thing. Now we see it as reality, because he did it.”

Alex Mandrago, 22, Honduras“Obama is No. 1! He’s making more opportunities for Spanish speakers.”

Greg Grant, 53, Washington, D.C. “I think my life will change, because he knows what people are going through and how they’re feeling.”

Patrick Moan, Woodbridge, Va. “I’m here to be a part of this joyous occasion.”

Megan Moan, Woodbridge, Va.“I’m a mother and a teacher, and I wanted to show my support.”

Sharim Smith, British Virgin Islands “I just wanted to observe with others the parade. … “It’s too cold!”