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Two from Forsyth attending Obama inauguration
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Forsyth County News

Millions of people will watch Tuesday as Barack Obama is sworn in as the country's 44th president, but two Forsyth County residents have tickets to experience the historic event in person.

Rob Abraham and Linda Williams will be part of what is expected to be the largest inauguration crowd in the nation's history.

For Abraham, it's the culmination of a four-year political journey. He has been impressed with Obama since the then freshman U.S. senator from Illinois spoke at the 2004 Democratic Party Convention.

"I was halfway watching TV, I was barely paying attention," he said. "But before I knew it, I was sitting at the end of my bed with my jaw dropped, because it was so moving for me.

"I went from not caring about anything in politics and just thinking it was this thing that my parents paid attention to that didn't really have a point ... to being just overwhelmed with the potential for my own involvement."

Abraham began volunteering for Obama's presidential campaign after graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology. That work earned him a ticket to the inauguration and a staff ball the following evening.

For Williams, the inauguration is also a homecoming.

"I know just about everybody out there," said Williams, who lived nearly two decades in Maryland, near Washington, D.C. "I have a lot of friends there and I'll be meeting a lot of people there."

Williams was a member of the Maryland Democratic Party, the National Council of Negro Women and volunteered her time for local charities.

In addition to the inauguration, Williams will attend the Democratic Party of Georgia Champagne & Jazz Brunch and the Omega Ball. Though she hasn't met Obama personally, Williams saw him speak during a Congressional Black Caucus dinner.

"I really believe in him and his intent to bring the country back where it should be," she said. "He's done a lot for the people, even before he became president.

"He's not only for one race, he's for everyone, and that's what I like most about him. He represents the people."

Abraham said he got involved because he believed Obama wouldn't bring politics as usual, that he "about what we can do for one another." When it came time to choosing his guest, he didn't think twice.

"I'm taking my dad," said the 23-year-old. "Barack Obama came to my campus at Georgia Tech and I brought my dad along to that. It's really been something he and I kind of followed together.

"It's great because he has a whole lifetime of experience that I've only read about, but we're both experiencing what's going on right now with the same enthusiasm."

Though Abraham's excited to share in the celebration, witnessing the event is "meaningful to me personally, since I did work on his campaign and I saw what went into the campaign."

"It's going to be freezing, I'm going to be there with people from all over the country, I'm going to be there with my dad and I'm going to witness Barack Obama being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States."

After the historic occasion, Williams said Obama's top priority should be finding a way to create more jobs and get the economy back on course.

"It's going to take time," she said. "I'm aware he has a lot on his plate and I'm not looking forward to change overnight. He's not a miracle maker, but anything is better than what it is now. I've never seen this country in such bad shape as it is today.

"He's bringing a lot of hope to the people and ... I'm very proud to say he's my president."