A wave of patriotism | ParkRecord.com

A wave of patriotism

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Old Glory waved, cowbells rang and the crowd cheered on lower Main Street Tuesday morning.

Barack Obama was sworn into office as president, and Parkites and Sundance Film Festival visitors stood next to each other watching the events in Washington in the Sundance zone on lower Main Street.

Some in the crowd celebrated loudly. Others appeared to silently weigh the enormity of the swearing-in. Parents brought their children to watch on the four flat-screen televisions that were put up and tuned to CNN.

"I think I’m going to remember it the rest of my life. He’s going to become president. I haven’t seen any other inaugurations before," said Sierra Wells, an 8-year-old who lives in Ranch Place and attended with her family.

Doug Wells, Sierra’s father, said he brought her and 6-year-old sister Savannah from school to lower Main Street. He said he is proud of America and wanted Tuesday to be special for his kids.

He said he historically votes Republican, but he cast his ballot in November for Obama, saying the new president has the charisma to unify people. Wells brought an American flag to show his pride in the country.

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The Park City Police Department estimated nearly 1,000 people watched the inauguration on lower Main Street, including Mayor Dana Williams. The police did not immediately report problems with the crowd.

People cheered as some of their Democratic heroes — Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, included — were shown on the screens as Obama prepared for his moment. There were scattered boos when President Bush and Vice President Cheney were on the screens.

The crowd cheered when the cameras panned to Obama walking into the ceremony. They grew as he was introduced. The people erupted when CNN announced that Obama had become president, at noon Eastern time, a few minutes before he was administered the oath of office.

People attentively listened to his inaugural address. They cheered when Obama spoke about equality and freedom. They agreed with his calls for cleaner-burning energies. They cheered when Obama said America was ready to lead again.

Obama in November carried Summit County, with the Park City area voting heavily for him. He made a local stop early in his campaign for a fund-raising trip, holding a rally outside the Utah Olympic Park with approximately 1,000 people listening and attending a private reception at a Synderville Basin home.

Cecily Huff Smith, who lives in Highland Estates, brought her 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter to lower Main Street on Tuesday, saying she wants them to remember the event. She voted for Obama and is interested in his ideas to reform health care.

She said she wanted her kids to listen to others’ ideas on Tuesday as well. Her son, Ryan, said he likes what he knows of Obama’s strategy in Iraq and the president’s tax ideas for the middle class. Smith said her son might pay closer attention to the president after having attended on Tuesday.

"Hopefully this will be a lifelong lesson of knowing (that) one voice can make a difference," she said.