She'd never seen a presidential inauguration in her life, or wanted to, but on Jan. 20, 2009, Nathasa Werts braved bone-chilling weather and a crowd of more than a million people for a trip to Washington.
The nation had just elected its first black president, after all, and Werts, an African-American mother of three, finally felt a part of the process.
"Our ancestors were slaves, and that's an ugly past, but that election told us we have the power to turn all that around," the Pikesville woman recalled. "I'll tell you what I felt: 'This is my country, too.'"
As last year's election neared, Werts was so sure President Barack Obama would win that she applied for passes for his second inauguration — an event she plans to attend Monday along with thousands of fellow Marylanders.
While the event will lack the groundbreaking element of Obama's first, many see it as having meaning of a different kind. It falls on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the nation's annual commemoration of the civil rights pioneer whose legacy many say Obama is expanding.
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