Monday, huge crowds gathered at our nation's capital while inauguration celebrations were held as President Obama began his second term.
An East Texas native braved the crowds and cold weather to attend the inauguration. Taylor Parker, a Whitehouse High School grad, headed to Washington D.C. with a student organization at Sam Houston State University, where he attends school.
"It was really great to actually visibly see with my own eyes the President being sworn in. Seeing cabinet members, congressmen that we all recognize... it was a really cool experience," says Parker.
Parker and the other Political Science Junior Fellows at Sam Houston State University got up early and prepared for a long wait and a large crowd.
"The inauguration is about 90 percent standing in the cold and dark, freezing but that's ok. It was truly great. Through, all of the standing and waiting you get to develop a family-like relationship with those around you that you're hugging up against," Parker says.
Parker says it was important to witness democracy in action.
"It's really great to see the people around me and to chat with them for a few hours about the way our country is being run, how things should be and just sort of reminiscing about our political past," Parker says.
Whether a democrat, republican or neither, it was a day many considered themselves first, Americans.
"I do believe that if we can return to this idea that we are one country, we really are, and that we all need to unite and share ideas and recognize each other's own ground and celebrate the political process by going to the inauguration regardless of political party involvement," Parker says.
Pparker and his classmates will spend a few days visiting historic sites between Texas and Washington D.C. Before heading back to Huntsville.