Rehoboth’s Tony Burns a witness to history

Rehoboth Beach's Tony Burns had a seat on the stage for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. Burns, center, poses with friends J.K. Homer, left, and Jim Katsaounis, right. BY SUBMITTED
January 29, 2013

Longtime Rehoboth Beach residents may have noticed a familiar face on the platform during President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in Washington, D.C.

Tony Burns, the Lake Comegys homeowner known in Rehoboth for his work with CAMP Rehoboth and on behalf of the city’s lakes, was right there on the stage above the president. Sitting a few feet away was Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who Burns said was surprised to see him, as well as Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

“I had to pinch myself a few times,” he said. “It was the experience of a lifetime.”

Burns managed to score choice seats through his friend Lynden Armstrong, who helped plan the inauguration. Armstrong works as the chief clerk of the Senate Rules Committee, headed by Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who was head of the Senate’s inauguration committee.

Knowing Burns had an interest in politics, Armstrong asked Burns if he wanted to be a guest on the main platform. Burns said he had no idea until he walked out that he would be one of 600 people on the stage with the president.

When he arrived, Burns said the first step was to pass through security to get into the Senate Office Building. From there, everyone had breakfast before passing through more security checks to get out onto the stage.

Burns said the crowds stretched all the way from the Mall to the Washington Monument and beyond, while above him were the television anchors and cameras. Burns said afterwards friends told him they had seen him on TV.

“To be there for this moment in history and to be only 150 feet from the president was something like a dream,” he said. “Am I really sitting here in this moment?