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Patrick Springer, Published January 20 2009

Moorhead woman impressed by friendly inauguration crowds

Yes the crowds were large, the lines long, the event historic.

But people were remarkably friendly as they assembled today for the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, and the first African American president.

That’s one thing Jamie Holding Eagle, one of 18 students from Minnesota State University Moorhead who traveled together to witness history, will remember about today’s inaugural of President Barack Obama.

“It was really amazing how friendly people were,” the Fargo native said. “We talked to random people.”

Everywhere, it seemed, there was a connection. The security guard at the Rayburn House Office Building, for example, was a native of Valley City, N.D.

That’s where the North Dakota congressional delegation hosted North Dakotans who attended the inauguration. And it is where the MSUM group had their picture taken with Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

At the inauguration ceremonies, Holding Eagle was able to watch from an area by the reflecting pool, where the best view was on the giant “Jumbotron” television screen.

“It was really, really cold,” she said.

The group was able to keep in touch with fellow students by posting to a blog and sending digital photos via e-mail.

Once home in Moorhead, when she will be greeted by her husband and two children, she’ll check news reports to catch details she missed.

It was the first trip to Washington for Holding Eagle, as it was for most in her group. “I didn’t know if we could pull off this trip,” she said. “I’m really glad we went for it.”