As a follow-up to what I wrote for Monday's newspaper about locals who were at yesterday's inauguration of President Barack Obama, I asked Lekevie Johnson, the pastor at Jericho Missionary Baptist Church and Champaign City Council member Tom Bruno to let me know what they though of the ceremony and the speech, the full text of which you can read here.
Here's what they said.
Johnson: "Our president inspired me with his hope for the future of our country. What really stuck with me is when the president talked about (how) the journey is not complete until all Americans are given a fair chance to succeed. I hope to return home and continue in my effort to support those in our community overcome the hardships of life and give them the tools to succeed.
"The speech was full of positive energy and compassion."
Bruno: "Being present for the inaugural ceremony is an awe-inspiring experience for any American, and getting to do it twice was an honor. Obama's speech was inspiring and thought-provoking.
"Even listening to a protestor who had climbed a 40-foot-high tree, and who screamed during the entire morning's ceremonies, brought home how our nation can tolerate all thoughts in the marketplace of ideas — even if those ideas interrupt Beyonce's performance.
"We were delighted to find the Russell Senate Office Building open for business, and we were welcomed in Michigan Senator Carl Levin's office, provided with hot coffee and snacks, and enjoyed a 30-minute conversation with his scheduler, Allison Warner, who gave us a bag of pistachios, which they had received as a gift for the occasion from the nation of Qatar.
"We are grateful to Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, and his Springfield staffer, Blandon David, for securing great seats for us for the ceremony.
"Getting a second chance to walk down a closed Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, this time without lawn mowers, was a real honor."