AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of people packed the auditorium at the LBJ library on Thursday for a rare opportunity to see President Barack Obama in person. It was a day many had been waiting for.
“It’s an important historical moment,” said Jeremy Suri, who teaches history at the University of Texas. “We don’t get to see the President of the United States very often, nor do we have a chance to talk about the president and civil rights movement and legacy. This is a really great moment for that.”
He decided to take the day off and let his 9-year-old son, Zachary, miss school to listen to President Obama’s speech.
“What could be a better political education for a young person than to see the president, and have a discussion about civil rights,” Suri said.
He may only be nine, but in Zachary’s eyes it is never too early to learn about the civil rights movement.
He even brought a book written by civil rights leader John Lewis, who introduced President Obama at Thursday’s summit.
“I think it was important because he was saying how important it was for people to work hard to make the country more free,” Zachary said.
“If this event encourages and inspires people like my son to make a difference, we’ll be better off,” Suri added.
And while he dreams of being an engineer, Zachary says maybe a few more books could lead him down his father’s path.
“It was perfect for them,” said Kim Scheberle, who also brought her 9-year-old and his friend to the speech. “A history lesson on what LBJ represented. What a difficult thing it was to pass civil rights legislation. I thought there was a lot of history in there.”
President Obama was one of four presidents to speak this week, along with Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.