WASHINGTON -- For some Long Islanders visiting the nation's capital, Monday's inauguration of President Barack Obama will be a celebration of the man whose agenda they have supported for four years.
For others too young to cast a vote last November, it will offer a lesson in history and politics.
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"I want to know what's going to affect me and my community in the next four years," said Newfield High School student Victoria Calandriello, 18, of Selden, who was attending the inauguration with her Advanced Placement Government class. "I'm very excited, but I don't know what to expect."
Standing near the National Museum of American History, Calandriello said she had been one month too young to vote in the fall, but felt it was important to learn as much about politics as she could before voting in the next election.
Corine Mack, 65, of Central Islip, who said she cried during Obama's inauguration in 2009 and welcomed the chance to witness the second one in person Monday, added, "I'm inspired to be here and be part of history. . . . My president, President Obama, got re-elected."
Mack, a retired union leader, said, "This time, I just feel strength . . . and a sense of peace I didn't have before."
Mack toured the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and took in Washington's other sights as countless others did before the ceremony, which takes place on the holiday honoring King's birthday. Mack said King and Obama shared a "sense of sacrifice."
On Capitol Hill, organizers finished erecting tents and bleachers, police began closing streets and vendors hawked souvenirs bearing photos of the first family. Obama supporters from all over the country packed the city, some saying they would be in place on the National Mall as early 5:30 a.m. Monday to secure a good viewing spot.
Spogmay Ahmed, 18, a Newfield alumni and Selden native who attends George Washington University, said being a D.C. resident allows her to experience the festivities "from a different perspective."
"I feel the energy just starting to build, build, build," Hall said. "His second term is going to be better than his first term."
"It's definitely good to see him elected a second time," he said. "It's good for America that it happened again."