That included a watch party at the Harlem Armory, where applause erupted following the ceremonial swearing-in.
Nicki Jones beamed with pride as she watched.
“This is a monumental occasion and I think it’s wonderful to be able to come and experience this in such a really wonderful atmosphere,” she told 1010 WINS reporter Juliet Papa.
The kids from Democracy Prep Middle School were there, too, wearing bright yellow hats and blue t-shirts. They even had fellow students provide entertainment.
“It feels like I could really achieve my dreams and everything. He makes me feel very comfortable in my society. So, I’m really proud of him,” freshman Briana Brown told WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell.
He said seeing an African-American president is important.
“If I work hard, my dreams will come true,” he said with not only a sense of possibility, but also a feeling of pride.
As for Nicki, she was participating in Day of Service events.
“From cleaning up community centers to reading to young children,” she said, noting that it’s a way of giving back.
Meanwhile, as CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the inauguration festivities were not lost on local children – many of whom gathered on this day off from school to celebrate both the inauguration and the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“President Obama is my hero,” one youngster said. “It doesn’t matter what color skin you have. It just matters that you’re happy”
At the Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City, parents used the moment as a teaching tool. Kids responded with their own presidential advice
“Maybe he’s going to try to make stuff a lot better than four years ago, when he just got sworn in the first time,” said Elijah DeNicolo, 11, of Inwood, Long Island.
“I hope the swearing in helps the nation,” added Caleb DeNicolo, also 11. “We just had the storm and all of that stuff. People are still trying to recover”
Everywhere, there was excited chatter as children shared their observations.
“President Obama was picked president-double time, two times,” said Tricia Block, 5. “He was elected because people kept talking about the first family, the First Lady, the first kids”
The president, the children learned, was using Dr. King’s personal Bible to take a second oath of office. It was a symbolic link on the civil rights leader’s day, and the children listened to Dr. King’s1963 “I Have a Dream” speech too.
“Martin Luther King changed the world so Obama can be president,” said Ofek Hochman, 5.
The kids said it has been tough recovering from Superstorm Sandy. Some of their parents are still without jobs.
But Monday was a day to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday, and and a president who can bring them peace and hope.
When the gathered children were asked what they wanted most from their president, the number one answer was to feel safe, followed by love.
Where were you during the ceremonial swearing-in? Share your story in the comments section below.