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Gainesville family attends inauguration
Gainesville attorney Arturo Corso, left, and family take their seats Monday at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington. With him, from left, are son, Xander, 11, wife, Phaedra, and daughter, Pilar, 12.

On Monday, people across the United States celebrated the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the second-term inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Gainesville attorney Arturo Corso and his family were in Washington to witness the historic event firsthand.

“It was really exciting,” said Corso, an attorney at Corso, Kennedy & Campbell on Green Street in Gainesville. “With the naked eye, we could make out the president and first lady. It was just spectacular. You’re looking at the most powerful person in the world with your naked eye, and it was just very exciting.”

After experiencing several days of warm weather in the Gainesville area, Corso said the cold air in the nation’s capital was a bit of a shock.

“It was cold, but we came prepared. We had layers on, but even still, sitting out there with all those warm clothes and huddled together, it was cold. But the whole event was so exciting we almost just put that out of our heads,” Corso said.

Four years ago, Corso and his wife, Phaedra, attended President Obama’s first inauguration but said there were several differences with Monday’s ceremony.

In addition to getting better seats, Corso noted the 2012 inauguration was more organized and orderly.

“It was incredibly more organized this time. The police presence was a lot more organized, and if you ask a question, they know where everything is,” Corso said. “And last time we would stand in line for hours to get through security, and this time it’s just so orderly. We got right to our seats with no trouble.”

But some things remained the same.

“It really did seem to me there were just as many people this time around as were at the last inauguration. People were crowded onto the National Mall as far as the eye could see, and it was just a sea of people,” Corso said. “The energy was more like we belong here. This time it’s like yeah, we belong, this is real.”

Corso was also happy to have his daughter, Pilar, 12, and son Xander, 11, along for this year’s ceremony. For his children, Corso said there was no denying the historic moment they witnessed in their young lives.

“The kids were very excited to be here. It’s been kind of a once in a lifetime thing for them,” Corso said.

And for Xander, there was a particular significance to his family’s inauguration trip.

“This was Xander’s first time in Washington, D.C., his first inauguration with the first African-American president of the United States and the first African-American president to be re-elected,” Corso said. “Even at the tender age of 11, he has an understanding of how significant this is.”

After arriving in Washington on Friday, the Corso family visited as many monuments and museums as possible before their return trip home today. But the highlight remained the president’s inauguration.

“It seemed like last time everything was changing, like there’s a new sheriff in town. It was all very new,” Corso remembered. “But this time, because it’s a re-election, it’s kind of a homecoming. There’s a lot of happy people here, and everyone here seems to be a supporter of the president and loves the first lady. It was really a powerful event.”

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