Tuesday, January 20, 2009

6 a.m.


Walked around Dupont Circle a bit last night – everyone was out and doing the same. Most like us, but some tuxedos and ball gowns here and there.

Slept in fits and starts (except for R who was out like a light) – crowds outside milling all night long!

Already this morning one motorcade going up to the Naval Obsevatory (to pick up Cheney?) Huge but calm security presence.

We're hopeful today that we will be within viewing distance of a JumboTron, but are OK if not. This event permeates everything, so "just being" with the crowds is electric and satisfying.

Frigid temps, so my clothes for today:

the usual underwear

2 prs. long underwear bottoms

fleece pants

wind/rain pant shell

2 capilene underwear tops

cashmere sweater

fleece zip top

GorTex jacket w/hood

double layer hiking socks

hiking boots

fleece tie hat

neck muffler


glove liners

GorTex mittens

2 p.m.

Just back from the event of the year (Decade? Generation? Century?)

We were out and walking towards the Mall by 7:30 a.m. Us and millions of our closest friends. Unbelieveably organized. Some confusion among the police we asked as to where we could access the Mall, but once that was sorted out, we sailed into the Mall.

Thousands of red-hatted volunteers greeting us all with cheery "Good Morning"s and "What a great day!"s. We were surprised at first that the Mall wasn't more crowded. We walked from the reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial towards the Capitol. Liked the vantage at The Washington Monument (a couple of JumboTrons), but thought we'd try to get closer. At the edge of the southeast slope of the Washington Monument we were turned back (along with millions of our closest friends) as the Mall from there to the Capitol was already full. At 8 a.m. In 20 degree weather.

So, back up the slope we went and stayed put there (with our million closest friends) and enjoyed a re-broadcast on the JumboTrons of the We Are One concert from Sunday.

Available space was soon nil and the Inauguration began.

Buses took the ticketed guests past us and up to the Capitol. Police presence in cars and SUVs and on motorcycles, bikes and horses. Nat'l Guard and Army guys/gals everywhere. Everyone bundled up with facewarmers. K9 dogs and their masters also roaming around.

Crowd was always courteous and always happy. No pushing or shoving. Lots of laughter and happiness.

Huge, spontaneous rounds of applause from the crowds for Teddy Kennedy, the Gores, Clintons and Carters. (Not so much for Bush/Cheney/the Congress/the SupremeCourt Justices.)

Bigger rounds of applause again for Malia and Sasha and Michelle. Thunderous, I mean thunderous for Obama.

All were rapt during his speech and appropriately moved.

All aware that the world was watching and whenever O made reference to our greatness and/or freedom and/or determination the crowds went wild.

Much hugging and some tears.

A sea change in our lives.

Walked back (with those millions of friends again) to Kris's apartment in Dupont Circle.

Passed a line of buses easily 50 buses long – and that was just on the street we were on – many other buses on many other streets.

Bobby (airport driver) said they were parking them at the Zoo.

Hugely thankful to be so close and able to peal off the many layers and have a beer.

We're going to take a bit of a break, re-group and find a bar/coffee shop to watch the Parade in.

It's a great day to be an American.

Sorry our posts are so random - the wireless is out in the building where we're staying (figures).

We're at the mercy of the Residence Inn and Starbucks down the street.

More tomorrow.

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