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Hawaii residents line up for presidential swearing-in

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 11:24 a.m. HST, Jan 21, 2013

WASHINGTON » Hundreds of Hawaii residents braved long security lines and temperatures in the 30s to join the massive crowd gathered in the nation’s capital today for President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

“I wanted to be a part of history,” said attorney Daphne Barbee-Wooten of Makiki. “I wanted to be here in the moment.”

Barbee-Wooten said she was struck by the diversity she saw in the crowd.

She also attended Obama’s inauguration in 2009, and said while the turnout seems smaller, it was still a good showing.

AJ Halagao, of Manoa, attended the inaugural ceremonies with his wife and two children, ages 8 and 6.

“For my family, this inauguration is about the children and we are thrilled to have a chance to experience this special moment,” said Halagao, a leader in the effort to bring Obama’s presidential library to the islands. 

“It’s still amazing to us; someone from Hawaii is our nation’s president,” Halagao said. 

Keith Amemiya, senior vice president of island holdings for the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, was in the crowd with his wife and son, Christopher, an seventh-grader at Punahou School.

“It’s very special to witness a special event like this,” Amemiya said.

While the crowd was smaller compared to 2009, turnout was still impressive, spilling over from sanctioned seating and standing ticketed areas and filling the National Mall, where people watched the ceremonies on 21-foot televisions screens.

The ceremonial swearing-in began about 10:30 a.m. in Washington, D.C., but attendees began arriving well before sunrise.

There will be a similar rush to secure prime spots along Pennsylvania Avenue for the inaugural parade this afternoon, which features two Hawaii bands — from Kamehameha and Punahou schools.

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