Columbus Joins Nation For Inaugural Watch.

Columbus today , with the rest of the nation, will mark the inauguration of Barack Obama with luncheons, viewing parties and evening balls. Festivities get underway late this morning as four movie theatres in town, several campus locations and the King Arts Complex on Mount Vernon Avenue will all host visitors who want to watch the swearing-in at noon. Several inaugural balls are scheduled for this evening in Central Ohio. Karen Rechenbach is among the Ohioans who got tickets to today’s inauguration in Washington D.C. after writing to all her Representatives and Senators and is exciting to see the changing of the guard.

“Oh, its wonderful, Oh my god, its exhiliarating. Everybody is…its so crowded but everybody has been so up and played and nice. I mean, you know, its just a great time to be here. It means Martin Luther King Junior’s dream came true and I think its just wonderful for the country. I’m hoping it will help with racism and that. And I just think he’s hope for us.” Says Rechenbach.

After today’s swearing-in, President-elect Obama says he’ll move quickly to address the nation’s economy. Youngstown mayor, Jay Williams, says action is needed to help all of Ohio’s large cities.

Absolutely, critically needed. A city like Youngstown has been economically devastated for a number of decades now can very much put to use the stimulus package to create new jobs. I’ve talked to the mayor of Cleveland, to the mayor of Cincinnati, to the mayor of Columbus. All of the larger Ohio cities as well as the small Ohio towns and villages are suffering.” Says Williams.

A handful of the original Tuskegee Airmen from Ohio will join president-elect Barack Obama at today’s inauguration. The airmen were the country’s first black military pilots and ground crew. Edward R. Lunda of Akron says the invitation is one of the highest honors of his life. Today’s swearing-in is scheduled at noon on the steps of the Capitol building. WOSU will provide live radio and web coverage.