I went to Barack Obama’s inauguration today in Washington DC. Two of my friends and I got to the general area of the city via the Metro and then walked about two miles with thousands of others to the Mall. When I say I have never seen so many people in my life, I mean every street in every direction had people steadily streaming in, people that took up the width of the street and went back as far as your eye could see.
It was cold, like in the 20s, and everyone we saw was smiling.
When we got to the Mall, where the actual ceremony took place, we turned to look behind us and our mouths fell open. There was just no end in sight to the rows and rows of people.
We stood outside in the cold for more than two hours. Organizers were replaying Saturday night’s rock concert and we stood there watching footage of Bono and Bruce Springsteen with two million people. It was powerful to stand there with everyone, but, honestly, we were so far from the video screen that we couldn’t see very well or hear the speakers at all. And we were very, very cold.
At around 10:30 am, we figured if we hustled, we could make it all the way back to the metro and get to our apartments in time to see the actual inaugural ceremony on CNN. When we left the Mall, we were amazed to find that the crowd was still coming in just as strong as it was when we first arrived two hours before. (We heard the crowds started arriving at 6 a.m.)
I’ll never forgot how exciting D.C. has been for the past week. This was my first presidential inauguration. I could not have picked a more important one. If we can sustain just a fraction of this hope for the rest of the year, we’ll be doing better than we have for nearly a decade.
Bravo to everyone who came to Washington, D.C. to be a part of history. And thanks.
Here’s to a new era.