A Lowcountry mother-son duo heads to the inauguration

Editor's note: Today through Monday, The Island Packet profiles some of the Lowcountry people who are attending the inauguration. To share your stories, go to


Every four years, Hilton Head Island resident Lynne Hummell shares her Jan. 20 birthday with Inauguration Day. Her first came when she was born as Dwight D. Eisenhower was being sworn in for his second term in 1957.

Hummell said she has always felt a special connection to Inauguration Day. When she was a teenager, she decided she would one day go to the nation's capital to experience the big event for herself.

"I just wanted to be there," she recalled. "I thought, 'What a cool way to celebrate my day.' "

This year, the timing seemed right.

Hummell, who will turn 52 on Tuesday, and her son, Clark, who turned 17 on Friday, plan to leave this morning for Washington.

The mother-son duo, both strong Barack Obama supporters who are staying with a family friend, don't have tickets to any of the events. Lynne admitted "the Capitol building will probably look like a speck to us" based on the crowds expected for the swearing-in.

They're making the trip to be a part of history.

Lynne first suggested the trip just after the election.

"Wouldn't it be cool if we went to the inauguration?" Lynne asked her eldest son in November.

Clark, a junior at Hilton Head Island High School and a member of the Young Democrats Club, said he didn't know whether to take the suggestion seriously.

"Sure," he replied. "We'll stop at Disney World when we come back, then go to California for a few weeks."

But a couple weeks later, "she actually started planning stuff," he said.

Now, Clark can't wait to get to Washington.

"I'll be able to say to my kids one day, 'Yep. I was there,' " he said. " ... It's going to make a great story."

The inauguration of President-elect Obama isn't the only historical event of the weekend.

It's also the Hummells' first trip to the nation's capital.

To prepare for the cold weather, they purchased new long underwear, gloves, hats and thick socks.

"I generally just wear flip-flops," Lynne said.

While they're leaving their Lowcountry apparel at home, the pair will make sure the Palmetto State is well-represented.

For her 50th birthday two years ago, Lynne's husband, Amos, gave her a South Carolina state flag that had flown over the Statehouse on her birthday.

She plans to hold it high when she and Clark are at the National Mall on Tuesday.

"It flew over our capital on my birthday two years ago," she said. On Tuesday, "it will fly in Washington."