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Deal's inauguration is a family affair
The Rev. Bill Coates of First Baptist Church on Green Street and Katie Deal listen to a soloist Monday at the inauguration ceremony for Nathan Deal at the state capitol. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

The Inauguration of Nathan Deal

Visit our special inauguration page to see

  • Video of the swearing-in of Nathan Deal
  • Slide shows of photographs by Times photographer Sara Guevara
  • Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle being sworn in
  • Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black being sworn in
  • Katie Deal, daughter of Gov. Deal, singing "Georgia on My Mind"

Monday's inauguration seemed like a family affair.

Nathan Deal's daughter, son, son-in-law and pastor took part in his swearing -in ceremony as Georgia's 82nd governor.

"It was an honor," said Hall County Superior Court Judge Jason Deal, who administered the oath of office to his father. "We planned this a few weeks ago but kind of kept it secret. It's pretty historic."

Jason Deal used the same Bible that his father used for his oath of office on Jan. 12, 1981, as Georgia state senator. It's also the same Bible Jason Deal used to take his judge's oath.

"I was pretty nervous," he said. "But it was great to have the family involved."

For Katie Deal, the youngest Deal daughter who sang "Georgia on My Mind" before House Speaker David Ralston called the joint session to order, it's best summed up in one word - overwhelming.

"It was overwhelming and emotional," she said. "Momma and Daddy mentioned that they wanted us to sing, and then Dad formally asked me to me sing."

Her husband Chris Wright, who sang "God Bless America" after Deal gave his Inaugural address, felt like the ceremony was surreal.

"You don't really realize how much these things mean to you until you're right in the middle of them, especially when it comes your time to be part of what makes our country run," Wright said. "It's a feeling you can't really describe."

The Rev. BIll Coates of Gainesville's First Baptist Church felt like he was part of the family as he gave the invocation for the ceremony.

"It was very moving, especially for me as I saw the wonderful and peaceful transition of power," he said. "I was able to see history in the making, and I was included."

Coates also appreciated the inclusive nature of the ceremony.

"I loved that there was a Baptist and a Roman Catholic involved," he said. "The ecumenical style was very meaningful to me."

Coates was set to be a part of Monday morning's prayer service at Mount Paran Church in Atlanta before inclement weather forced all nonessential inaugural events to be canceled. On Monday morning, he decided to hold a family prayer before Deal's inauguration.

"I had a brief conversation with the family because they're all in the spotlight now in a way they never requested," he said. "It's tough, and I wanted to let them know that we're here to give support along the way."


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