Watching history in the making

Published 7:12 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The ringing of the doorbell, the constant flow of human traffic, and the air filled with excited chatter and anticipation.

The lovely brick home of Pastor George and Shay Stringer of Brantley began filling quickly with family members, friends and neighbors who came to witness the inauguration of the nation’s 44th president, Barack Obama, Tuesday morning.

“We are so excited,” Shay Stringer said, with a bright smile. “Every time I go to Wal-Mart, I buy another magazine or book to help me fill my scrapbook.”

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Stringer displayed several literary items bearing the image of President Obama.

More people, young and old, began filing into the home, as the Stringers began grilling in the back yard for the large crowd in attendance. Many of the children were home from school so they could see the nation’s first black president take the oath of office—and literally witness history in the making.

Sherteria Kitchens is the Stringers’ niece. A 13-year-old student at Auburn Junior High School, Kitchens was very excited by the day’s events.

“Most of my whole family is here today,” she explained. “I’m glad to be able to hang out with my family and friends and be able to watch history—it’s really amazing.”

“It’s actually cool that I get to live to see this,” the teenager said. “It’s a blessing.”

Vester Wiley of Brantley is the Stringers’ neighbor.

“All of them call me ‘Mama’ even though I’m not, but I’ve raised them from birth up,” the 79-year-old said, smiling.

Having been born during the year of the Stock Market Crash, just what could this day possibly mean to her?

“It means a great deal,” she said, thoughtfully. “I never thought I’d live to see this day—It’s something I never thought I’d see happen.”

“Martin Luther King, Jr., opened the doors, so his dream has come true,” Wiley said. “After he (Obama) puts his hand on the Bible and takes the oath of office, I’ll say we’ve made it.”

Wiley got the opportunity to see the presidential inauguration Tuesday with some of her children present, including some of her grandchildren, and a great-grandson, three-year-old Jhalan Jordan of Brantley.

“I feel so blessed to be alive to see this,” Wiley said.

The family members and friends all gathered in the huge living room to watch the inauguration procession begin. After President Obama took the oath of office, the room erupted in clapping and cheers.

“I believe the Lord has sent him this far and will continue to stand over him,” Wiley said. “I just never thought that this would happen.”