Monday, January 21, 2013

Inaugural Memories: 2009 Edition

I was one of the approximately 2 million people that attended President Obama's Inauguration in 2009. 

It was my second day of living in the area and while I knew it was going to be cold and chaotic, I also knew it was a once in a lifetime experience that I didn't want to miss. 

My roommate did the research and mapped out our plan. We drove to Landmark Mall, in the West End of Alexandria and took the free bus service that dropped us off at 14th and C Streets, just south of the National Mall. And then we started walking and ended up in quite the sea of humanity. There were mobs of people and barricades all over the place. 

Somehow we ended up standing in the turn lane on the still open 15th street. General traffic wasn't going through, but buses filled with marching bands for the parade and emergency vehicles were still using the road.  Yet, we were allowed to stand there. We were between two sets of barricades and it was crowded, but not like the packed in crowds actually within the barricades. 

From our spot on 15th street, just in front of the Washington Monument we were about a mile from the ceremony. We couldn't even see the platform, well, except on the jumbotrons. And the crowds went on for about another mile, back as far as the Lincoln Memorial. 

But even though I still was watching it on screen, it was so awesome to be there. The people around us were so friendly and nice. Talking, hugging, smiling. The atmosphere was charged with excitement. 

I thought about going again this year but decided that my experience in 2009 was one that can't beat. 

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