Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yes we can!

I was at the inauguration, as many of you kindly asked. I spent the morning at a friend's watching the swearing in, drinking mimosas, then walked down to the national mall hoping to catch just a glimpse of the parade as it passed.
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. We accidentally went to one of the few gates allowing non-ticket holders onto the route. We happened to be at the front of a line we didn't know existed in the chaos and got ushered to a few available seats in the grandstands! It sounds easy, but this involved about 2 hours of waiting. Just happenstance though...AMAZING signs on a nearby office building read 'welcome Mr. President'. Every building and roof of the surrounding buildings were crowded with viewers.

I wish I could describe to you the atmopshere at the parade other than saying it was magical. I have never met so many warm, friendly people. We were bound together by our excitement of the coming administration, our hope for the future and our FRIGIDITY. While it may not have felt cold at first, being outside in low 30 degree temperatures soon took its tole. It was worth all discomfort though. 2 photos of the crowd surrounding us. It was packed! As the news reported though, due to the cold and long wait, as soon as the president's motorcade past, most of us left the stands and left the parade route. I had to get someplace warm!
Security was tight but everything was managed surprisingly efficiently. While waiting in line the many volunteers tried to keep the crowd entertained with chants and cheers. The hundreds of thousands of spectators were incredibly patient and understanding while we waited in long lines with no clue what was going on, herded together like cattle (which was a blessing as it provided warmth and blocked cold winds). It will be a day I'll never forget and neither will my frozen toes! One of the bands in period costume which preceded the president's motorcade,

While waiting for 2 hours for the parade to begin we all talked about where we came from, the cold, how we spent the morning and did 'the wave' up and down the bleachers while reciting different chants people knew. We were a rowdy part of the crowd, but even the police and army guards seemed to be in on the fun!an antique dc metro bus which led the president's motorcade

I felt like a part of this countries' history and of something bigger than just an individual citizen. I made so many friends waiting in line and while waiting for the parade to begin and was touched by their stories. I'll never know their names but I know many traveled long distances (not 5 blocks like me). A group of women drove all night from Toronto, tickets in hand; an older couple (pictured below with me in the hat) who came up from Texas, an entire family spanning generations from the Czcech Republic who came 1/2 way across the world just to see a parade and hope for the future. I hope you all managed to see some of the inauguration on tv and celebrate with me the hope and faith in the future of our country.
President Barack Obama passing in his motorcade in front of the DC mayor's booth across from us, above and below.
In the video below we took, you can see the president in his limo waving as he drove by. Unfortunately I was at a part of the parade route where the president rode and did not walk. I caught a glimpse of him smiling and waving to us with his little girls. I can't say I blame him because of the cold and his long, tiring day, but we were all a bit disappointed!

The flag of dc which we sat under - we also sat under a huge US flag pictured at the top of the post. All photos taken by myself.


columnist said...

What a great experience! It must have been great to "be there", despite the cold. You can tell your children and grandchildren.... :)

katiedid said...

Something to remember for always. Wish I could have been there. Thanks for the glimpse! :)

pve design said...

Why this made me feel as though I were there with you. Love your hat, ear muffs and scarf. Looks like a wonderful memory!

tartanscot said...

YAY ! I'm so excited that you were able to have such an amazing view of all of the events yesterday. It is truly an exciting time for our nation. Thanks for the 'personal glimpse' for those of us across the nation who watched everything on television.


willow said...

Even though I was glued to the TV all day yesterday, your post still gave me goosebumps!

Kwana said...

Oh lucky you. In just the right place. Thanks so much for sharing. I will never forget yesterday. I was so happy to share it with my grandmother and my children. There was so much emotion in Harlen yesterday. What a day.

thomas said...

very cool!!!

Patricia Gray said...

What an exciting day for you to be there to witness this momentous occassion in person. I watched the event on TV and was filled with a feeling of hope and optimism for the future. As a Canadian I couldn't vote for Obama, but I voted with my heart!!

DC David said...

It was an amazing event! I was on the mall during the swearing in and even though it was frigid the warm vibes from the crowd kept me warm. Hugging and sharing everything from power bars to kleenex with strangers from every age, race and background gave me so much hope for our future.

michelle said...

I was wondering if you were there.

What a great collective of people! The energy must have been so positive!

I heard that he spent the first 10 minutes in the Oval office by himself...can you imagine what was going through his head?

We are on the verge of something great, aren't we?

Visual Vamp said...

Ooh I knew you would be there and be our eyes for us!
Thank you so much for braving the cold, and for posting this!
You brought it alive for us on a personal level!
And thanks for going to my blog and leaving me a message on one of the Obama posts.
I'm using those posts as my archive and scrapbook, a memory poem to the day, and I love that you, and all the other bloginistas are a part of it.
xo xo

Pigtown-Design said...

THanks for sharing your memories! I am very jealous!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

How fabulous that you went and then shared the experience for all of us! A day you will never forget, I'm sure. Thank you for all the photos...they had a visceral immediacy that the newspapers/didn't.

Cote de Texas said...

Lucky you!!!! I THOUGHT I saw you on TV!!!! hhaaaha

I wish I could have been there so badly. sort of - not when I hear how cold it really was. Michelle acted like she was so warm and she barely had anything on!!!

btw- loving your take on Carolands. I have that book. I wonder who lives there. Aren't the shots of the property by helicopter fascinating - how close the neighbors are on one side? how shrunken the estate is now??

Topsy Turvy said...

Thanks for sharing your great photos, Stefan. I was almost wishing I had endured the air mattress on the floor, just to be there for all the excitement!