EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 13, 2009

They're heading to Washington

Folks across Valley gear up to visit Washington for inauguration

11"I'm not going for style," Konjoian said. "I'm going for warmth."

Across the Merrimack Valley, dozens of folks are gearing up to witness presidential history firsthand.

Tuesday, when President-elect Barack Obama puts his hand on the Bible, becoming the nation's 44th president, he'll have plenty of local company, including a poet, midshipman, parents, students, a birthday girl and others.

"It's an unbelievable thing. It's just awesome," said Linda Harvey, a Methuen mom who is heading to Washington, D.C., with her two daughters, Maxine, 12, and Talia, 9. Originally Hillary Clinton supporters, the Harvey family turned to Obama and the girls even made phone calls on the president-elect's behalf.

"They are so excited because they feel like they picked the winner," Harvey said. "Since the day he won, they just assumed they were going."

The inauguration also will be a big day for Maxine Harvey because it's her 13th birthday.

"I keep telling her that I'm convinced Obama is going to say in his speech, 'Happy Birthday Maxine,'" Linda Harvey said with a chuckle.

For some, the trip will be their first visit to an inauguration. Others have already witnessed the transfer of power and are reveling over a return visit.

"I am very excited. It's the presidency we are celebrating. I have to confess to having a little bit of Obama-mania," said Andover poet Mark Schorr, executive director of the Lawrence-based Robert Frost Foundation.

To mark the inauguration, Schorr has written a poem, "Elusive Air," which is addressed to Obama from the view of a person standing in the crowded mall during the swearing in.

"I know Obama loves language and poetry," he said.

The preparation, buildup of the event and a young family's move to the White House reminds Konjoian of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. She was just 12 then and remembers watching the event on television on a snowy Friday.

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