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St. John Celebrates Obama Inauguration

Jan. 20, 2009 — "This Magic Moment," a 1969 tune by the aptly named Jay and the Americans, set the stage Tuesday as people gathered for an inaugural day party at Mongoose Junction shopping center.
"Very appropriate," said St. John resident Trish Capuano as she and a group of friends took in the moment.
The Mongoose Junction party was only one of the parties celebrating the inaugural on St. John. Another party was planned for the Beach Bar at Wharfside Village.
A replay of President Barack Obama's inaugural speech on big-screen television was the centerpiece of the event.
"The speech is something every single person should watch and think about," said St. John resident Lani Clark.
Mongoose Junction owner Glen Speer, on hand with a glass of champagne, called Obama a very special person.
"If anyone can get us out of a hole, it's someone like him," he said.
Discussing the current economic crisis, Speer said Obama articulated the problem in a way that "makes us all want to go to work and fix it."
When Obama said in his inaugural speech that the United States was "ready to lead once more," Speer called it a great statement.
St. John resident Debbie Hime called Obama's inauguration an historic event.
"This is the biggest thing we ever had," she said. "It's a new beginning for everybody."
Hime called the nation's first black president a man for everybody.
Allison Smith, another St. John resident, observed that although V.I. residents can't vote for president, they "could party about it."
Trevor Sichel, a St. John resident originally from South Africa, said he liked Obama.
"I think he's good for the country," he said.
The event brought together both residents and tourists. Mike and Joanne Valmoro of Mahwah, N.J., staying at Cinnamon Bay Campground, came to the Mongoose Junction party.
"We're traditional Democrats and we like him," Mike Valmoro said.
His wife said before Obama's speech aired that she hoped one of her kids had taped it so she could see it when she got home.
"I think it's historic," she said.
Chris Sammartino of Orleans, Mass., also staying at Cinnamon Bay campground, wanted to share in the "magic and momentum of a great leader and what he is already creating for this great country."
A visitor to a villa at Mahogany Run on St. Thomas, Bob Steger of Detroit, called the speech "very good."
"I liked the way he tried to bring the nation together," he said.
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