WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport resident Mark Mathias and his family made the most of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday by traveling to Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Mathias, a Democrat on the Board of Education; his wife, Kim; daughter Nicole; and son Nick left Westport about 12:30 a.m. Monday on a charter bus to Washington. They were joined on the bus by members of the Staples High School Young Democrats Club, Mathias said.
“Once we arrived in Washington, D.C., there were crowds of people everywhere, and everyone was in a good mood,” Mathias said in an email. “Forgetting about politics for a minute, we were there to see yet another manifestation of how our country hands off control from one term to another, peacefully and safely, for hundreds of years.”
Mathias and his family had tickets to watch the inauguration ceremonies from the west front of the Capitol. He said there was a “definite happiness and warmth in the air” created by all those in attendance.
Mathias said downtown D.C. was transformed mostly into a pedestrian area due to the event, as there were no taxis and very few cars on the roads.
The experience, he said, was magical - one he and his family will remember for life.
“The day was like a MasterCard commercial," Mathias said. "Cost of a bus ticket to the inauguration: $150. Food and souvenirs: $100. Hearing my son whisper/sing ‘America the Beautiful’ along with James Taylor: Priceless."
The family returned to Westport almost 24 hours after they left, Mathias said.
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