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Jan 21, 2009 11:55 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

A day of unity and celebration

Jan 21, 2009 11:55 AM

Southampton Town Hall employees poured into the Town Board room Tuesday to watch the historic inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States, and adults and children alike witnessed the event throughout the area at various gatherings.

At Town Hall, Supervisor Linda Kabot, Councilwoman Sally Pope and Town Attorney Dan Adams joined with other town employees who packed the room as Mr. Obama took the oath of office.

Ms. Pope, who took office earlier this month, said she hoped President Obama’s message of inclusion would trickle down to Southampton politics. “I’d like to see those same principles apply on a town level,” Ms. Pope said. “We need to be reaching out to others, even if we don’t agree.”

Earlier in the day, after a suggestion from Ms. Pope, the supervisor cancelled a Town Board work session, which had been scheduled for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, so that town employees would have the opportunity to watch the inaugural festivities on the two televisions in the Town Board room. “After all, this is an historic event,” Ms. Kabot said.

Later that night, some 250 local Democrats cut loose at an inaugural celebration hosted by the Southampton Democrat Committee at the Southampton Inn. Newly elected committee Chairman Gordon Herr said the smile on his face summed up his feelings on the historic day. “I think this is a great day for the country,” Mr. Herr said, who is a native of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia.

A U.S. citizen today, the new chairman has lived in the United States for 29 years, but spent much of his adult life in South Africa. “I left South Africa because I never thought I would see a miracle there, and I never thought I would see a miracle in this country,” he said, speaking of the election of President Obama.

As a party leader, Mr. Herr said he liked what the president had to say about reaching across the aisle. “We don’t have to always agree, but we can try to work together.” Speaking from his African perspective, Mr. Herr said that the election of President Obama sets a new standard for African leaders. “There are no more excuses,” he said.

Mr. Herr’s predecessor, Mike Anthony, said the inauguration of President Obama “returns hope to the country.”

Alabama native and lifelong Democrat John Johnson, who has lived in Southampton for 31 years, said he never thought he would live to see a black president. Mr. Johnson said he was proud that his 96-year old mother, who at one time was not allowed to vote, cast her ballot for the president. “Her grandparents were slaves, and now a black man is president,” he said.

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Watch out what you wish for. You may just get it.
By Dr Spock (36), Hampton Bays on Jan 21, 09 6:31 PM
It is time for us to put our personal issues aside. We all need to realize, recognize, and accept that all of us are in this time in history together. We all need to be on the same team. It is to everyone's advantage and well-being. If there are destructive forces negating the government that the majority wanted, then everyone will suffer. Our power comes from unity. Everyone will benefit from positive thinking and actions. We, as a country, absolutely must move forward with hope and fearlessness,,,,the ...more
By rabbit (65), watermill on Jan 22, 09 11:33 AM
Here, here...well said rabbit. Now tht the celebrations are over, it is time for unity and hard work. Personally, I am glad to hear that our town hall employees were TOGETHER watching history being made on Tuesday.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 22, 09 12:05 PM
There is a distinct difference between closing down GITMO and freeing terrorists. On top of that, how long are we going to keep these people there? You can not hold people indefinately with out charging them or bringing them to trail. Its unamerican. If we do that then we are no better than the Vietcong. Remember them? The ones who held Sen. McCain captive and tortured him for 6 years. Our new President is merely doing what should have been done a long time ago. Do you really think that GITMO ...more
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jan 22, 09 7:35 PM
OOOO.....Watch out what you wish for.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 23, 09 8:07 AM
we all differ in our opinions, but now is a time for uniting, not squabbling over Guantanamo and other silly things. We should all be praying for President Obama to get the government to help us through this financial crisis he inherited from the Bush II Administration.
By Malik from Captree (6), Sag Harbor on Jan 29, 09 2:57 AM
PStevens....You will blame bush for the next 16 years, I was here in town the day the buildings fell. I remember how It felt. President Pelosi has obviously forgotton... GW might not have been perfect but he shut the islamic extremists down for 8 long years. Lets hope Barack Hussein Obama knows what to do after Netanyahu drops a few MOAB blasts at the little nit wit Ahmadinejad in Iran. When Putin steps up to defend the terrorists what will our Politically Correct half a socialist leader do then? ...more
By joe hampton (3187), south hampton on Feb 2, 09 7:33 PM