Senior citizens react to the country's latest chapter of history - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Senior citizens react to the country's latest chapter of history

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Just before Barack Obama took the oath of office on Tuesday, Clarence Kalin, 94, made sure to watch on a television at Saint Mary's Senior Care facility in Madison.

He is an avid Obama supporter who has now been alive for 23 presidential inaugurations. "They're all different, you know," said Kalin.

Fellow resident Mike Schewe was also captivated as coverage got underway. "I'm just absolutely thrilled," said Schewe. "Obviously, he's a first black President, but he's also a man of principal."

Once Obama began speaking, the moment caused tears of all ages at this retirement home. No one cried more than 82-year-old Betty Turner, a black woman from Madison.

We asked her is she ever thought she would see this in her lifetime. "No, no, never," she said tearfully.

After decades battling racism herself, Turner now hopes to see Obama work in the White House for quite a while. "If iIcould live a little longer, I will praise the Lord for that, because he has made it for me to see this going on. And it's good. I'm glad."

With so much much collective history here, we asked where this moment ranks.

"He's an interesting guy, and a lot smarter than some past Presidents we've had," said Kalin, who said some of Franklin Roosevelt's inaugurations during times of Depression and war stuck out.

Schewe compared Obama on Tuesday to the effect JFK had on his brothers. "When John F. Kennedy gave the famous 'Ask not what your country can do for you' (speech), that inspired them so much," said Schewe. "They joined the Peace Corps. And that was great. But this is more inspiring, and I think we are more involved."

"It's beautiful," added Turner. "It's very beautiful."

Email me at cagnelly@wkowtv.com

 

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