Former area residents attend inauguration

Kjiersten and Deb Durand, granddaughter and daughter of Milton and Delores Ost, and Charlotte Olson, daughter Kyle and Rose Olson, stand with U.S. Sen. Al Franken in his office Sunday for the inauguration. Photo provided

A former Albert Lea resident who attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration earlier this week is calling it a highlight of her life.

“I’m so grateful I was able to go,” said, Olson, the daughter of Kyle and Rosemary Olson. “It would be a blessing to see any president like that, and it was a blessing to see him inaugurated. Just to be with those people and feel their spirit was amazing.”

Olson, who now lives in Rosemount, said she began writing U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar for tickets right after the election, but she didn’t find out until 10 days before the inauguration Franken’s office had some tickets she could use.

She invited friend Deb Durand, daughter of Albert Leans Milton and Delores Ost, to come with her, and together with Durand’s daughter, they flew to Washington, D.C., on Saturday. They flew back to Minnesota on Monday evening.

“It was an amazing experience to be a part of,” she said.

Olson, who teaches civics, said the experience was especially touching because it happened on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

On Sunday, the group attended receptions with Klobuchar and Franken and went sightseeing.

On Monday during the inauguration, Olson said they were seated behind the reflecting pond with more than 700,000 other people.

“I’ve never felt such positive energy in one spot,” she added. “There were lots of people who were crying.”

It was Olson’s second time seeing Obama, after she saw him in 2011 during a visit to Cannon Falls.

“It was definitely a highlight of my life,” she said.

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