Locals watch as Bush takes second oath

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 28, 2005

Proctorville resident Matt Ward stood on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington D.C. Thursday, and for one of the few times in his life, he was absolutely speechless.

Exactly four minutes before noon, President George W. Bush placed his left hand on a family Bible and took the oath of office during the nation's 55th Inauguration.

Ward was one of more than 50 Lawrence Countians watching and waiting breathlessly.

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"It just really gets you emotional to witness history in real life. It was awesome," the 26-year-old Ward said. "It was really breathtaking. Plus, I am glad I got to share it with my Mom."

Bush began his second term Thursday as thousands lined the streets of Washington for the swearing in and then the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

The president's message was the U.S. was up to the challenge of ending tyranny across the world.

''Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill and would be dishonorable to abandon,'' the president declared in the first wartime inauguration in more than three decades.

Lawrence County educators Carolyn and Sam Hall got an education of their own at the historic event.

"It has been very exciting and kind of unbelievable," said Sam Hall, superintendent of the Chesapeake schools. "You see it on TV but to be there and look up and see the president 15 or 20 feet away was awesome.

"The President did such a good job. It made all of us proud that we had made the trip."

Ward and the other 55 people from the county started the festivities Wednesday at the Ohio Republican Party's reception.

Nobody was more excited about the trip than long-time county auditor of Ray. T. Dutey. Dutey, chairman of the Lawrence County Republican Party, was instrumental in getting the president to stop in Ironton last year and even got a chance to talk with the president at one of the balls.

"The president was pleased with Ohio, especially southeast Ohio," Dutey said Friday morning still giddy from the excitement. "I said, 'Do you remember stopping in Ironton on your way from Huntington, W.Va.,' and he said 'I sure do. You all had a great crowd.'"

As Dutey and the others from the county embarked on a final sightseeing trip before returning home Saturday, none expected to see anything to top the memories they had just made.