Friday, January 23, 2009

View from the inauguration

A 1993 Carroll Kuemper Catholic High School graduate had prime access to the presidential inaugural festivities Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Sarah (Jensen) Shomshor, wife of State Rep. Paul Shomshor, D-Council Bluffs, (both pictured above) watched President Barack Obama’s address and the parade from a building on Pennsylvania Avenue. Later she stood near the stage in the Washington, D.C., Convention Center at the Midwestern Inaugural Ball as the first couple embraced for one of 10 official dances.

Sarah Shomshor, a daughter of retired Carroll physician Jim Jensen and his wife Darlene, said she could see the U.S. Capitol podium from which Obama spoke from her perch on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“When the man speaks and he’s done you just feel like you can go out and make something better,” Sarah Shomshor said.

For the Shomshors the inauguration served as the culmination of a political season in which they had up-close and personal interaction with key players.

Several presidential candidates visited their home, including the eventual commander in chief, Barack Obama. Vice President Joe Biden made a campaign stop at their home as well, just after Thanksgiving in 2007 during his own presidential run in Iowa.
The Shomshors supported Obama in the Iowa caucuses.

A highlight of a full and historic day for the Shomshors was seeing the Obamas dance at the ball headlined by singer Sheryl Crow.

“It was pretty moving,” Sarah Shomshor said.

She joked that the day involved dealing with cold weather getting from place to place.
“It was so cold we felt like we were at the Alaska ball,” Sarah said.

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and other major political figures from the Midwest were at the ball.

But Shomshor, a University of Iowa graduate and nursing instructor at Nebraska Methodist College in Omaha, Neb., said the interaction with regular Americans on the streets left lasting inspiration.

She ran into many people who, with no tickets or VIP access or clout, said they just wanted to be there as Obama took the oath of office.

“It was just very overwhelming,” Sarah Shomshor said.

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