Chicagoans return home from DC

January 21, 2009 4:32:31 PM PST
They have witnessed history and now they're coming home. Along with them they're bringing memories that will last a lifetime.

Thousands of Chicagoans jammed the airports on Wednesday. It's their return trip from the nation's capital and most of the travelers are very tired but all are very happy that they made the trip.

An estimated crowd of almost two million people jammed the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. Now all of them are trying to get home.

Those who went to Washington say they were not deterred from going to the inauguration even when the initial crowd estimates a few weeks ago were three to five million people. They say they just wanted to go and witness history and they say to those of us who didn't make it, you just had to be there.

"It's in my memory now for good," said Omar Abballah.

Omar will share the memory with nearly two million other people who packed into the nation's capital.

"I met about six people from China. I met one guy who flew over from Spain. And one lady from Australia," said Abdullah.

It seems that a large number of people in that crowd on Tuesday were from Chicago who wanted to witness their hometown hero take the oath of office.

"Everybody leapt to their feet and cheered and it was one of the most exciting things I've ever been to and something I'll remember all my life," said Beth Chadur.

Beth flew back on Wednesday morning, arriving at O'Hare after a jam-packed trip to D.C. where she watched the inauguration and attended a gala for Obama volunteers.

Margie scored tickets to the commander in chief's ball.

"It just meant a lot to our family to go and be a part of history," said Margie O'Quinn.

She also scored lots of mementos like buttons and several newspapers. It was pretty easy to spot the people coming back from the inauguration because their souvenirs were on display.

"This was my second time voting ever and my electoral vote actually counted and my mom, it was her first time ever. We went to just witness history," said Craig Novak.

People have been trickling in to O'Hare and Midway on Wednesday, flying back from D.C., Baltimore and Virginia. Airports in the Washington, D.C. area reported very long lines in the security checkpoints. Some have even missed their flights. One man said he didn't mind waiting in the line because it's a lot warmer than standing on the Washington mall.