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updated: 1/22/2013 8:15 AM

Inauguration historic, inspiring for suburban Democrats at the Capitol

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  • Lauren Beth Gash of Highland Park attends the inauguration with her son Ben Garmisa, center, and husband Gregg Garmisa, right.

      Lauren Beth Gash of Highland Park attends the inauguration with her son Ben Garmisa, center, and husband Gregg Garmisa, right.
    Photo courtesy of Lauren Beth Gash

  • Hoffman Estates Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi stands in front of the U.S. Capitol on inauguration day. He said the day made him feel "extremely proud to be an American."

      Hoffman Estates Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi stands in front of the U.S. Capitol on inauguration day. He said the day made him feel "extremely proud to be an American."
    Photo Courtesy of Raja Krishnamoorthi

 
 

Among the 800,000-strong crowd on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., were some suburban Democrats who traveled east to see President Barack Obama's second inauguration. Standing in the bitter cold, some craning their necks to get a view of the main podium, attendees checked in with the Daily Herald, sharing their perspective as they were witnessing history.

Lauren Beth Gash, Highland Park

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Former state lawmaker and current party leader

Obama's speech "was inspiring, touching on a lot of themes of unity," Gash said. She called his second inauguration a validation of his first term -- a sign that his election wasn't a fluke -- and marveled that someone she once worked with in the state legislature now leads the nation.

"Having served with him in Springfield, just the idea that he was elected president is incredible," she said.

Gash said that, by comparison, the inauguration crowds were easier to navigate than in 2009, if still huge. And she said it wasn't as bitterly cold, either, affording onlookers a more comfortable inauguration than Obama's first.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, Hoffman Estates

Former Democratic congressional candidate

Krishnamoorthi described the Brooklyn choir singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic as a highlight during the inauguration ceremony.

"If angels sang, this is probably how they'd sound ... despite the frigid conditions, I think the warmth of the ceremony got us through," said Krishnamoorthi, a longtime friend of the president who has worked on Obama's campaigns.

The day, Krishnamoorthi said, made him "feel extremely proud to be an American."

Zack Carroll, Burr Ridge

Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in September

Carroll said he liked that Obama emphasized progressive themes such as gay rights in his inauguration speech.

"I think it's about time a president embraces that."

"I thought that it was great that he mentioned climate change."

Terry Link, Waukegan

Democratic Illinois state senator

Link said Obama's references to interpreting the U.S. Constitution to adapt to current times was a statement on gun control and other issues.

"I think he was telling the nation a lot of things without out and out saying it."

"Times have changed. Let's change with the times."

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