Sure, there were some challenges in moving 300 people 2,000 miles to be part of President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in Washington D.C.

People missed the bus, people got blisters, and we got on each other’s nerves.

We almost leveled a Ryan’s in Christiansburg, Virginia.

No one on the trip, except for the loudest snorer, slept.

But as the trip wound down I spoke with a University of Central Arkansas student who put the trip’s ups and downs in truer perspective.

I was delirious, having slept just 6 hours of the previous two nights, but I think the conversation went like this.

A young man from West Helena, who was one of 15 UCA students traveling with the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, spoke to me in the laundry room of one of those ultimate interstate truck stops as we clung to available electric outlets to briefly charge our iPhones.

Contention on his bus was about to get him down. He didn’t have time to see a lot of the places he had heard so much about. He spoke about his own challenges on his first trip out of the southern states.

But through conversation he came back around with a sigh and the confession that he’d experienced something incredible, something he didn’t anticipate he’d find himself a part of.

From his description, I must have had a similar experience standing in the crowd of one million.

I was there to document the first black president being sworn in for a second term and to follow the students and Arkansas residents in their experiences.

But I admit to losing that focus in a certain part of the president’s speech. When I remembered myself, my camera was hanging from my shoulder and resting at my hip.

The young man told me earlier in the trip he had "grown up with nothing," but he had ambitions to "become something."

He told me, as a sophomore on the road to a four-year degree, he is making something of himself. I don’t know what odds he had overcome to get to this point, but he indicated they were not in his favor.

I thought of him when President Obama said these words in his speech on Inauguration Day:

"America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention."

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at