The Inauguration of
The Inauguration of Barack Obama: My
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The day on the National Mall was exciting and exhilarating, but we walked in what seemed like an endless maze through the streets of Washington to find our way two and a half hours after arriving. When we got entangled in the purple ticket-holders' line, we got bottled up near D St for over an hour. Moving in the opposite direction was an exasperated James Edward Olmos. I recognized him and told him I was just an average guy just trying to get to the Mall.
We made our way onto the Mall at 11:35 AM as Rick Warren was giving the invocation. Even though we were well behind the Washington Monument, there was one jumbotron upon which we could watch the events transpiring on the capitol steps. We watched President-Elect Obama and Vice President Elect Biden take their oaths of office, and we listened to President Obama's inaugural address. The crowd thinned out quickly, choosing not to listen to the inaugural poem or the closing prayer, the latter of which contained both wisdom and humor (as I listened on C-SPAN after I got home).
We encountered one more bottleneck as we skipped the inaugural parade and made our way to Union Station. The Department of Homeland police kept us penned up in a cattle chute for over an hour as we waited to find out where to board our MARC train. The crowd finally broke free and we got on board at 5:15, not having sat down from the time we got off the train at 8:15 or so.
Was it worth it? I thought I would be much more emotional when the actual moment came that President Obama said "so help me God." I was much more emotional when I shared the experience of the "We Are One" concert that took place last Sunday. 500,000 people came to the mall to see a star-studded line up kick off the inaugural celebrations. Hearing U2 play "Pride in the Name of Love" (along with many other great artists and stars) on the day before Martin Luther King Day was a "mountaintop" experience.