Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Inauguration day started at 5:30 am for me. That's when we (M, his cousins, his uncle, and his uncle's friend) got up and got dressed. And by dressed I don't mean put on pants, shirt and shoes. By dressed I mean I put on my leggings, knee high socks, regular socks, jeans, snow pants, tank top, long sleeved shirt, sweater, fleece, coat, fleece coat, snow jacket, two hats, scarf, two pairs of gloves, and shoes. This of course was in preparation for the 20F degree weather that we had been warned would feel more like 9F with the windchill.

What a silver ticket for inauguration looked like.

At 6am we left the house and started our walk down to the mall. I think we walked something like 6.5 miles to finally be allowed onto the mall. We started by heading north around the capital towards the parade route. We passed the gates where people with tickets were lined up and ready to go. But by the time we got to the parade route, 7am, it was already full. Instead we turned down the third street tunnel, an area that made us all nervous in case something went wrong, to South West DC. Once in this area we were marched all around town, following the crowd, until we reached 12th street, our entrance to the mall.

Just in case you weren't sure where all the people were headed.

Once on the mall we staked a spot pretty quickly. Close enough to a jumbotron to read the captions and hear the sound. Closer to the Washington monument then the capitol but on the mall nonetheless. Then we waited. And we waited. And we tried to stay warm. And we waited.

View of the crowd from the eyes of a 6-year old or otherwise known as ways to entertain yourself when you are sitting outside in 20F degree weather.

I have to say it was pretty awesome to be amongst all the people. Everyone was just excited and happy to be there and taking part in history. It was also pretty cool to see the range of people that were there. You had high school kids, grandmas, people from DC, people from California, family groups, groups of friends, and groups from schools.

Usually there is grass around the base of the Washington Monument. On inauguration day it was all people.

Our view of the Capitol building where the inauguration ceremony occured.

Finally when the ceremony started we all laughed when they asked us to stand, didn't they know that we had been standing and trying to stay warm for the last 3 hours?! If only we had chairs. The ceremony was the quickest memory of the whole day. I think we were all just waiting for it to be over so we could return to our homes and get warm. One of my favorite parts was watching everyone walk in. I could identify a few people here and there but I didn't know many of the famous political faces. It felt like when I watch royalty events in England and have to constantly ask my mom, Who's that?! I also liked the benediction, that was pretty entertaining.

Our view of the jumbotron as Obama was being sworn in.

After the inauguration ceremony was over we decided to skip the parade and head home. Sadly though, getting out wasn't as easy as getting in. For some reason we got stuck in an area, jammed in like sardines, where no one was moving. There was a wall between us and an area 30 feet away where everyone was walking out. To call it frustrating was an understatement and it was the only point during the entire day that I actually felt unsafe. Not only was I stuck amongst a mass of people but after 20 minutes of not going anywhere the crowd got a little restless and people started chanting, "Move! Move! Move!" followed by "Go! Go! Go!" and then someone had the bright idea of yelling out, "Just Push". Luckily a stampede did not ensue because others around stopped it pretty quickly but it was a scary moment.

Shortly thereafter we turned around and walked back to get to the area where people were walking freely. The walk home wasn't as long as the walk to the Mall but it felt a lot longer. Partly because we were stuck for 20 minutes partly because we were absolutely exhausted. So exhausted that I was in bed and asleep by 9:32 pm.

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