Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The 57th Presidential Inauguration

As soon as the election results were in, Mom and Dad e-mailed our representatives and senators to see if we could get tickets to the inauguration. (The tickets are free but limited and handed out through the congressional offices)

We heard nothing and assumed we wouldn't be going. But just a couple weeks before the big event, an e-mail arrived announcing that we had tickets!! So Dad worked his airline magic and got us booked to DC. On Jan. 19, we were off.

We toured around a bit Sunday and then got up at 4:30 a.m. Monday to ride the Metro into the city.
We got off at Union Station walked up and around the Capitol to the Gold Gate at Third and C streets. Normally, this would not be a big deal, but many, many streets were blocked for security, so it was quite a long walk.

The viewing areas were all color coded with their own security checkpoints. Everything was very well organized.

Gold ticket!
And finally the Gold Gate!
We stood in line for a long time to go through the metal detectors and have our bags searched. The officers were throwing away apples and oranges. Not sure what the security threat was there

We made it inside and staked out a spot to watch the festivities. We could see the platform where all the action was going on, and there was also a jumbo-tron so we could see the closeups. 
Pa thought to bring binoculars. Smart!
The area filled, and the clouds rolled in.
We stood there for many hours, listening the musical performances and waiting for the dignitaries to arrive.
The important people were announced, and the crowd would cheer. Or boo, in the case of Paul Ryan ;)

Finally, we could see the president heading through the Capitol. The crowd went crazy!
The herald trumpets sounded...
And out came the man of the hour:
After some speeches and prayers and other pomp and circumstance, Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in:
Then James Taylor sang us a little tune:
Then it was Obama's turn:
Obama gave his speech, drawing more cheers from the audience.

Then Kelly Clarkson sang a little ditty:
Then the moment many people were waiting for (especially the teens in the crowd)... Beyonce infamously lip syncing the National Anthem:
Lip syncing or not, she sounded amazing!
In all, it was a very positive, celebratory event. There were no protesters, and everyone was fairly well behaved. I'm so glad I was able to be a part of something so very historic and momentous. It's no secret that I'm an Obama supporter, but witnessing the peaceful transfer of power to any president would be amazing.
I've been to D.C. in the winter when it was bone-chilling cold, so I was prepared for the worst. Sunday was sunny and in the mid-50s, but Monday morning was in the low 30s. Cold, but not horrid. At least the predicted snow held off.
On top, I wore two long-sleeved poly-pro under shirts, a turtleneck fleece and my puffy jacket, which has been to the top of several mountains. On the bottom, I wore a pair of thin poly-pro tights under a very thick pair of poly-pro tights - and then my "ranger pants", which are thick polyester and lined with quilting.

Topped it off with my thickest hat, a fleece scarf, two pair of glove liners under my mittens, handwarmers, a body warmer in my pocket and hiking socks and Columbia Sportswear light hikers.
I was dressed perfectly. I would not have been more comfortable if I was in my living room. :)

So getting into the Mall was very well organized. But getting out was a complete madhouse.

With so much blocked off, we were all herded the same direction, away from the Mall and toward the subway. The route we took was SO packed, but we were moving. THEN... we suddenly stopped, with cross traffic causing complete gridlock.

We stood packed like sardines for maybe 20 minutes, not moving at all. I thought we might not ever get out. I would have liked to take pictures of this, but I couldn't move enough to get my camera from my pocket!

Eventually, it broke loose, and we were on our way. I'm thankful that I don't have a fear of crowds. Seriously.

This was the biggest problem with the day. Previous estimates put the expected crowd at 800,000, but reportedly, about 1 million people showed up. I guess the infrastructure just wasn't up to the task.

Kari, Kayla and Pa went a different way than us and apparently were stuck in gridlock for a couple hours!

Mom, Dad and I finally got out of the crush and just kept walking, wanting to avoid the subway at all costs.

Vendors were everywhere, including this guy cooking pretzels on a makeshift charcoal BBQ on a grocery cart! Mom had to buy one.
The sun came out as we neared the Lincoln Memorial:
After lots more walking, grabbing lunch, buying souvenirs and soaking up the city, we caught the subway back to Shady Grove. It was a long day, and we were exhausted - but happy.

We all fell into bed, our inauguration adventure at an end.

Tuesday, it was 17 degrees outside as I prepared to head home. Man, were we ever thankful that cold snap didn't arrive early. Even my ranger pants would have been no match for that.

Wow. What a trip! :)

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous! You know I'm not an Obama supporter but feel the same way you do about historic events. So glad it worked out for you and your parents to be part of history. Just like Forrest Gump! =)