Many state employees used their lunch hour Monday to witness a piece of Indiana history. They stepped outside their downtown offices and listened and watched as Columbus native Mike Pence was sworn in as Indiana governor.
Kristy Cook of Brownsburg, for example, held a hot drink and huddled near the northeast entrance of the Indiana Government Center South as she waited for the ceremonies to begin.
Cook was on her lunch break from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. She said she was looking forward to witnessing an inauguration, which she had never done before.
Her colleague, Nancy Zemaitis of Indianapolis, director of the FSSA’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, said she was looking forward to all the pomp and circumstance.
“It’s cold,” she said, “but it’s a nice day.”
As steam rose from a nearby manhole, inauguration spectators held steaming cups of free hot coffee, chocolate and cider to stay warm.
Some others who were downtown, however, grabbed some of the free hot drinks and caramel corn and went on their way, showing no apparent interest in the inauguration.
People caught up in the moment could be seen snapping photos and applauding speakers and performers. Among them was Scott Wright, an accountant with the state of Indiana. He took photos with his smartphone as Pence neared the end of his speech. Wright said he had voted for Pence and wanted to witness his inauguration.
The ceremony went well, Wright said, and Pence has the right ideas and perspective to lead Indiana successfully.
Shelia Walden of Mount Vernon just expected to witness the inauguration from the bleachers, but she got a lot closer look at the governor than she expected.
After the inauguration, Walden was walking on the top floor of the Statehouse when Pence walked out of the nearby Meditation Room to head back downstairs. Pence briefly stopped to chat with her, her husband and others in her group and to pose for photos.
A beaming Walden said she couldn’t believe her luck.
“We were just up here getting the tour,” she said.
She said she has a tremendous respect for public servants and the commitment they make for a cause in which they believe.
She called the ceremony breathtaking and once-in-a-lifetime.