Leah Turner couldn’t believe it when she and her husband received Presidential seal embossed Inauguration tickets.
In fact, it took a little research and some phone calls before the Jacksonville resident could believe it was real.
“I really don’t know who’s responsible for me getting the invitation, but I’m just really appreciative of it,” Turner said. “I’m an enlisted spouse. I never expected to get an invitation.”
Because her husband is an enlisted Marine, getting an invitation like this makes the couple a little anxious, she said.
“Mike’s not an officer,” she said. “We haven’t done anything to so much distinguish ourselves. We’re fairly ordinary.”
While Turner has spent a lot of time writing to get politicians in southeastern Indiana and southwest Ohio elected, she said their priorities are really their kids and their family. While the couple had initially wanted to take their kids on the trip to Washington, D.C. with them, they decided not to because of concerns with the protests.
In addition to writing to get politicians elected in the Midwest, Turner said she called Trump Towers in February 2016 in an effort to request President-Elect Donald Trump’s presence at Camp Lejeune’s 75th anniversary parade.
“I think he’s going to be good for the party because he relates to ordinary Americans and he’s compassionate,” Turner said, explaining how Trump had invited Jennifer Hudson to stay in Trump Towers after her family was attacked. “It just goes to his character.”
Housing Jennifer Hudson in the aftermath of the attack, Turner said, wasn’t something Trump wanted everyone to know and those were the kind of things that give her insight into his character.
The Turners spent some time trying to figure out if the Inauguration was considered a political or state event, which would change what her husband, Mike, was expected to wear to the event. They determined it was a state event, which she said is important to note because if it were a political event, it would be different than honoring the President of the United States.
“The invitation is such that even if it wasn’t for somebody that we politically supported, if you get an invitation to the Inauguration, you’re gonna go,” she said.
While some area residents are going to be making the trek to D.C. for the Inauguration, others will be viewing and celebrating the event a little closer to home.
Former Senator Tommy Pollard said while he’d been to several Inaugurations in the past, he wanted to avoid the event’s crowds and the cost to stay in D.C. Instead, he’s invited friends and family, along with amateur actors for an improv comedy skit. He said the skit is just something to have fun with and will be a very entertaining evening.
Representative Phil Shepard, R-Onslow, said he wasn’t planning to attend the Inauguration and Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., wasn’t either. A spokesperson said Jones wouldn’t be attending because his wife was undergoing surgery at home.
Representative George Cleveland, R-Onslow, said he wouldn’t be attending the Inauguration either, explaining that at 77, he doesn’t like huge crowds. He has no desire to go to D.C., he said, going on to say that he had been there before and worked there and didn’t like the place.
Instead, Cleveland planned to attend a small local gathering.
It was not immediately clear if Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, would be attending.
White Oak River Bistro is also having an Inauguration Party on Friday night for the public, which will include the live playing of American standards, American wine and drink specials, a prime rib dinner special, and apple pie, although the regular menu will be available. Those who attend will “have the opportunity to pose for a picture with the new president,” a press release said.
The restaurant invited Democrats, Independents, and Republicans to attend the party on Friday 6-9 p.m.
For reservations or more information, call 910-326-1696.
For those who don’t want to watch the Inauguration, there will be an Inauguration Boycott Power Walk on Friday at 10 a.m. in the parking lot across from West Carteret High School. There will also be a Women’s March on Raleigh on Saturday at 10 a.m. beginning at City Plaza on Fayetteville Street in front of the Marriott Hotel and a Women’s March on New Bern on Saturday at 12 p.m. on Front Street in New Bern.
For more information about the March on Raleigh, visit WomensMarchOnRaleigh.org. For more information about the March on New Bern, visit ActionNetwork.org.