Father, son heading to historic Barack Obama inauguration
January 12, 2009
By Jim Feehan
Making a campaign contribution to Obama’s campaign: $25. Attending a 2007 Seattle fundraising reception for Obama: $500. Spending father-son time at Obama’s inauguration: priceless.
Next week, a Maywood Middle School student and his father will make a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., to capture a glimpse of history in the making.
Kyle Sargent, 13, and his father Rob will attend Barack Obama’s swearing-in as the 44th president of the United States.
“I’m looking forward to staying in a luxury hotel and no school for a week,” Kyle said.
The experience will be both educational and provide ample father-son time, Rob said.
“I’m looking forward to being part of an historic event and celebrating with others that worked hard to help Obama get elected,” said Rob, an elected precinct committee officer in the 41st Legislative District and an area coordinator in his hometown of Newcastle. “I’m also looking forward to the educational value for my son. I’ve already made him read the Constitution and tested him on it.”
Kyle and Rob, 48, an owner of a printing company with operations in Seattle and Redmond, will not be alone. An event of unprecedented significance is expected to attract a crowd of unprecedented size. Organizers predict as many as 2 million people will crowd the National Mall on Inauguration Day.
By comparison, about 400,000 people attended George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2005. Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration drew a record 1.2 million people in 1965.
In addition to working on campaigns for Obama, Gov. Chris Gregoire and 8th District Congressional candidate Darcy Burner, Rob hosts an informal progressive social group, Drinking Liberally, that meets monthly at a restaurant in Newport Hills to discuss politics. While in Washington, D.C., the Sargents will also attend a party for liberal bloggers.
Obama has sparked an unprecedented spirit of civic engagement with his inspiring speeches and call to service, Rob said.
“A lot of people got involved with the Obama campaign that hadn’t previously participated, and I think that led to his winning both the primary and the general election,” he said.
As an assignment for school, Kyle will compile a diary of his trip to D.C. Witnessing the inauguration of the first black president will be a lifelong, cherished memory for Kyle, Rob said.
“It may not have much significance now, but I think it will have much significance for him later in life,” he said.
Nearly a half-century ago, another young senator burst out onto the national stage. He, too, was little tested and idealistic.
“I know if I’d been at the Kennedy inauguration, it would have been something that would have been a special memory my entire life,” Rob said.
Reach Reporter Jim Feehan at 392-6434, ext. 239, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.