Photos by Erica Sobecki
Updated February 20, 2013
A group of 56 Elmhurst students, faculty and staff rode a bus all night and walked more than three miles the next morning for the chance to witness President Obama's inauguration.
They left campus for Washington on Sunday night, January 20, drove all night and stopped just once, for breakfast, before pulling into Washington on Monday morning.
The group arrived at the National Mall just in time for the end of Obama’s swearing-in ceremony and Beyonce’s rendition of the national anthem, then spent the afternoon visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. and Lincoln memorials before having a quick dinner and getting back on the bus for home.
The whirlwind trip was exhausting, but well worth it, students said.
"You get this sense of excitement about what's going on around you. You have the Washington Monument, the Jefferson monument and the Lincoln monument all there, and you realize that history is happening at this point," freshman Abraham Mulberry, a political science and philosophy major, said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
"All this history in one place builds up and you understand how big of a deal all this really is," said Mulberry, who also is president of the Elmhurst College chapter of College Democrats of Illinois. "You realize this will be a moment that you can look back on and tell your kids, 'I was there.'"
Stanley Washington, a junior economics major who is president of the Black Student Union, noted that he voted in his first election last November. "Then to see everything we worked for in November come to fruition, and to be surrounded by so many other people who are fighting for the same cause, was a great experience," he told the Tribune.
Clarification: This story has been revised to clarify when during the swearing-in ceremony the students arrived.