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January 23, 2013
The tradition begun four years ago, carried on Monday at Oriental’s Old Theater, as the theater opened its doors to the public a place to gather and watch the Presidential inauguration from Washington.Inside the Old Theater as the inauguration ceremony took place on the screen.
About forty people looked on the big screen as President Barack Obama took the oath of office for a second term. Most could have seen it on their own TV’s but opted to see it large and with others.
Among those in the Oriental audience was Williams Gilyard who traveled from his home in New Bern to be with others for an hour, watching the inauguration. Gilyard said afterward that he thought “it was very thoughtful,” of the Old Theater to make that happen.Williams Gilyard traveled from his home in New Bern to attend the public gathering at Oriental’s Old Theater.No tickets or invitation necessary.
The Old Theater also offered the audience a chance to have their photo taken alongside a cutout of the president. (The life-sized Obama cutout was the 2008 model, with none of the subsequent gray hair, a point that was not lost on those who stood alongside.)Caroline Parham-Ramsey and Marsha Luhrs pose again with the Obama cutout as they did four years ago. They noted that while their hair looked four years grayer, the President’s did not.
While they were there to watch, those in the audience also took part in their way. When the audience in Washington was asked to stand for the swearing in of the Vice President and President, so did the forty people in Oriental’s Old Theater. They applauded as well at various points in the President’s speech.The audience in Oriental stands as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor swore in the Vice President.Stand-ins. Vice President Joe Biden in DC, Barack Obama cut-out at the Old Theater in Oriental.
Lynn Whalen and Cathy Creswell of the Old Theater Board said they were happy to provide the venue for those who wanted to watch the inauguration in a public place. There was talk of doing it again in 4 years – regardless of the letter following the new president’s name.
Lynn Whalen suggested that even before 2017, the theater could be used as a public venue to view presidential debates — and those for state office..The event drew some media coverage. Here, Madeline Wright from Channel 9 films some in the audience.
An indication of how rare such a public gathering is could be gauged by the media coverage. The New Bern Sun Journal and a New Bern TV station sent reporters to the inauguration-ceremony-once-removed taking place at the Old Theater.Madeline Wright interviews Oriental resident – and Obama supporter – Roger Bullis.