Doug Haddow, a 23-year-old Washington-area native who moved to Bluffton about a year ago, is returning to his hometown today.
A former history major at Loyola University New Orleans, Haddow is determined to see history in the making at Tuesday's inauguration. So are his college friends, who are flying into the nation's capital from Boston, Houston and New York for the occasion. They're staying in another friend's two-bedroom apartment on Capitol Hill.
The old crew, happily reunited, probably will sleep on the floor during the stay -- that is, if they sleep at all.
Haddow, who is flying out of the Lowcountry after finishing up work at Palmetto Bluff this afternoon, will arrive at his friend's apartment just before midnight. Their "yes, we can" party already will be in progress.
"We'll probably stay up all night," he said. "The plan is to head out to the Mall around 7 Tuesday morning. I'm worried if we go to sleep at 3 or 4, we won't wake up in time."
Jumbo screens will be set up along the mall. The friends plan to watch the 11:30 a.m. swearing-in from the Washington Monument.
"I figured we wouldn't be too close," said Haddow, who volunteered on President-elect Barack Obama's campaign in North Carolina. "I just want to be out there with millions of other people and be able to say I was there when it happened."
The friends have a strategy to fill the time from their arrival until the ceremony begins. "We're going to fall asleep sitting down until things start," he said. "We're going to be freezing out there."
Last week, the five friends obtained four bleacher-seat tickets to watch the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue following the swearing-in. It remains unclear who among them will be without a seat.
Haddow, who must return to work Thursday, laments the brevity of his visit. Last week, however, he was reassured after talking to his friend in Washington on the phone.
"He said it's just electric in D.C. He said the town is ready to explode."