CRESTVIEW — A three-day trip to Washington, D.C. to witness Inauguration Day convinced a Bob Sikes Elementary School fourth-grader that she wants to see more.
Justice Livingston, 10, attended President Barack Obama's second inauguration on Monday, capping a weekend of sightseeing, witnessing history unfold, and fulfilling a long-time dream.
Justice on Christmas Eve received an envelope full of materials from the White House, including a letter from the president, following a letter she wrote to Obama in November.
She also wrote a letter four years earlier, following the president's first inauguration.
“I told him I am just like him,” she said to the News Bulletin in 2009. “My daddy is black, and my mom is white.”
Last weekend, Justice's older cousins — Libby Lewis-Reeves, Tawanah Reeves and Master Sgt. Tonya Lewis, Crestview natives living in other cities — treated her to a weekend in the capital, where she could be closer than ever to her role model.
However, the National Mall and the Inaugural Parade route were so crowded that Justice and her cousins couldn't actually see the proceedings.
"We couldn't see him (Obama)," Justice said. "But we could hear him. And we heard Beyoncé sing."
Singer Beyoncé Knowles sang the national anthem during Monday's inauguration, but the energetic crowd witnessing this national event particularly interested Justice as she and her cousins approached the U.S. Capitol.
"The rush of getting there and everybody pushing was exciting," she said. "But the closer we got, everybody got happier. They (security forces) moved people into, like, little blocks. One big guy and his daughter came bouncing everybody out of their way. We just laughed at them."
Pat Mosely, her grandmother, explained the "little blocks" were roped off stalls; each contained a certain number of spectators. Officials using observation satellites could count the stalls to get an accurate estimate of the crowd, which was "at least" 1 million people, according to the politics website Politico.com.
During the trip, Justice climbed the Washington Monument. The iconic landmark was impressive even before she set foot in it, she said.
"It was wonderful just walking up to it," Justice said. "The view was, actually, wow!"
She and her cousins also visited the National Museum of African Art, and took pictures in front of government departments, including the Department of the Treasury.
"It was tiring with all the walking," Justice said. "It was good to sit sometimes, but it was fun!"
Justice is already planning her return visit to Washington, D.C. She and her grandparents, with whom she lives, are planning a spring road trip to the capital, and she hopes to return with her cousins.
"In two or three months, we should be going back," Justice said.
Now that she's attended the president's second inauguration, she's drafting another letter to send to him.
"She wants to write to him and tell them she wants to meet all of them (the first family) in the White House," Mosely said.
"Hopefully, we'll get a tour of the White House. Maybe then I'll get to meet President Obama," Justice said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.