Thousands Journey to be Part of History

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GREENSBORO, NC -- By plane, train and automobile -- people from far and near traveled to Washington, D.C. today to be a part of history.

The North Carolina Martin Luther King Celebration Committee sent 30 charter buses from across the Tarheel state.

CBN News tagged along with the group from Greensboro, NC. They let us ride one of their buses for part of the trip. The morning began bright and early at 5 a.m. 

Road to the Inaugural

We caught a father saying goodbye to his daughter as he sent her off to D.C. He stayed behind.

"She's been ready to go," he told CBN News.

A little boy's excitement grows to make the journey. Sitting in his grandmother's lap she says "tell him who you're going to see Anthony."

He replies, "Yalack Obama," too young to say his name properly. All part of a growing anticipation to witness history.

"It's indescribable," Cherry Graham says. 

Anticipation...

Graham is holding a quilt she made for her 2-year-old grandson who didn't make the trip.

"I hope he makes a lot of changes," she says of President-elect Barack Obama, "because it's time for change."

Robert Allen is making the journey too.

"I feel like it's a very historical moment," he said. "I feel like I need to be a part of it. I'm just ready to go."

More than 100 people boarded the two buses from Greensboro.

They began their journey with a prayer and were off. 

Those Who Remember Jim Crow

We talked with some who remember the segregation and marched in protest.

"I never did think that at this age I would live to see this day," said Marsha Thompson. Thompson participated in the protests during the Greensboro sit-in during the 1960s.

"We couldn't go to the restaurants; we couldn't go to the motels; we couldn't do anything."

And as her eyes begin to mist, she says "If you see me crying at any point. I will be crying." 

What It Means for a New Generation

For many parents this trip carries more meaning for their children.

"Now they get to see if you just stay focused you can achieve a goal," said Rhonda Smith of Wendell, N.C. She is on the trip with her husband and two children.

And it is also a family affair for Alan Everett. The High Point, N.C., native drove up from Atlanta to be with his family. He is on the bus with his wife, mom, sister, and other members of his family.

"It means more to me that we as a nation have come together and were able to overcome so many differences and obstacles and see this day happen," Everett said.

CBN News hopped of the bus at a rest area on the North Carolina-Virginia border. 

One Grandmother's Perspective

Everett helped us capture the rest of the trip to D.C. by videotaping the trip. At one point he interviewed his mom Ramona Everette. She participated in the marches in High Point, N.C., during segregation.

"Ma, when you told me I could be anything did you believe that?" he asked. She replied, "I did… and you did."

It was slow going for the group at times as they encountered heavy snow along the way. A sobering reminder that winter is here.

And after a nine hour journey, they arrive at their final destination -- safe and sound -- and still in good spirits - ready to witness history.

"I just want to see the crowd of people," Darrin Rollinson said. "Hopefully it's a multitude of colors."

Avery Hall agreed.

"There's just not anything that you can discount about this opportunity," Hall said. "This big change, I'm glad it has happened," said one woman who is originally from India. "I can't wait to see the change that it will bring throughout the world."

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