Seniors and children take time out of day to catch a glimpse of the oath of office

MILFORD – Most of the people watching Barack Obama’s inauguration Tuesday at the Milford United Methodist Church had witnessed many a presidential oath, but none like this one: A million excited people crowded onto the National Mall as the nation’s first African-American president was sworn in.

The church – the temporary home of the Milford Area Seniors until they can build a place of their own – had invited senior citizens to watch the ceremonies on its two large screens.

“I’m thrilled,” said Marcia Hazen-Cheever, of Milford, as Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter walked down the aisle before the start of the ceremonies. “I wish I could be there. I think everyone has a lot of hope for the future.

“I could watch it on TV, but it’s more fun to be with other people,” she said. “It’s wonderful the way (Obama) was able to pull the country together.”

Claire Place, of Milford, who is the secretary of the senior center committee, called the inauguration “just amazing. It’s part of history we are all witnessing. It’s wonderful.”

Helen O’Brien, of Merrimack, and Kathleen Healey, of Nashua, were at the church at the invitation of a friend.

Both women said they were happy and proud about the new president, and nearly everyone in the church clapped after the president took the oath of office with his hand on Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural Bible.

“I think he’s a good man,” said Ruth Graney, of Milford. “I think and hope he will make a difference. He’s very intelligent and well-liked.”

Not quite everyone was excited, however.

Eleanor Carr, of Amherst, noted that the ceremonies involved “a lot of fanfare and a lot of money,” and her husband, Richard, said he only was impressed by the Methodist Church’s facilities.

Down the road at the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley, about 45 kids gathered on couches and on the floor to watch the inauguration on a big screen TV.

The children were at the club because the Milford School District was holding a teacher workshop day.

When Obama appeared on the screen for the first time, all the children clapped and cheered.

For 9-year-old Bryce Narine, the inauguration was a big deal.

“I’m excited because it’s the first black president ever,” said Bryce, who is also African-American and also wouldn’t mind becoming president some day.

“People didn’t think a black person could become president,” he said.

Also pleased by the event was soon-to-be-9-year-old Meagan McLean.

“It’s very historic day and I’m proud to be a part of it,” said Meagan, who said she wants Obama to end the Iraq war because her cousin served there.

While the children haven’t lived through a lot of presidential history, McLean remembered her mother telling her about George W. Bush’s second inauguration in 2004. She said second terms were “cool” for a president because he gets to be in the White House twice.

Angel Mainguy, 11, agreed the inauguration was “very exciting,” and said she liked Obama because of his positions on Iraq and global warming, although her mother voted for John McCain.

Despite the initial excitement, the children began to get the wiggles after the swearing-in ceremony and broke for lunch during the new president’s speech.