As the nation swore in its first black president today, many leaders of the civil rights movement came to the nation's capital to witness firsthand an event they never thought they'd see in their lifetimes.
And there was nowhere else they'd rather be.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called the inauguration "a fabulous day for all Americans.
"I'm not ashamed to say, in fact I'm proud to say, I was tearing up just like everybody else," Powell told ABC News. "What can one say about a day [like] today is it was a day of celebration of American democracy, a celebration of a new start."
Right before the ceremony began, basketball star Magic Johnson spoke about how proud he was as a black man to witness the inauguration of President Obama.
"It shows how America has really grown and progressed," said Johnson. "Emotions are running high for me and every American but especially myself as an African-American."
"I'm so proud and happy," he said.
Amid chants of "Obama! Obama!" filmmaker Spike Lee paused to speak about what the swearing in meant to him.
"A lot," said Lee. "It took many hundreds of years to get to this point in history for this country."
"This is a celebration, and I'm just glad to be here," he said, donning layers of winter gear and explaining that "history will keep him warm."
"I am so excited," said Farris, who is a professor at Spelman College in Atlanta. "It is an occasion that means a lot to me, but I'm also reminiscing about my brother who predicted that this would happen one day."
Watch live coverage of the Inauguration all day today beginning with "Good Morning America" at 7 a.m. ET and go to the Inauguration Guide for all of ABC News' coverage details.
Farris told ABC News she didn't think she would live to see the day where a black man was elected president.
"One of us has been able to take the highest office in our country," said Farris. "It's just amazing. I'm just so thankful."
But with her excitement comes some sadness, as Farris said she couldn't help but think of her brother and all he did to fight for equality.
Farris gets emotional when she thinks of how much her brother would have liked to be with her today watching Obama take the oath of office.
"The inauguration will be very emotional for me," said Farris. "I can't help but think of my brother and all that he fought for and really gave his life for."
While Farris recognizes the huge strides the country has made in terms of battling racism, she still says that her brother's dream has not been fully realized -- even as Obama makes the Oval Office his own.
"Yes, the country has elected a black man as president, but we still have racial problems," said Farris.