The Inauguration of Barack Obama
the 44th President of the United States
A Personal Perspective

The Inauguration of Barack Obama: My Perspective
(Clicking on images will enlarge them slightly in a new window)

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.

Obama prays during Warren's invocation 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. 

Along side the George Washington Monument Being on the Mall to see the peaceful transfer of power and the oath of office being taken by the first African-American president was without a doubt worth all of the walking, wind, and fighting crowds we encountered. I hope the Presidential Inaugural Committee and the city of Washington, DC can do things differently next time, but then so will I. Being on the Presidential Inaugural Committee's phone text list made a critical difference because they were the ones sharing the crucial information with the masses. I loved being a part of history and supporting our new president. The crowds were for the most part friendly and helpful, buoyed by the spirit of brotherhood that I believe President Obama's administration is ushering in. So let's all be a part of the inauguration as we move forward. And I will see you on the Mall in DC in 2013.

With Grace on her 15th Birthday
George Cassutto
January 20, 2009


Here is a slide show of the day.

Some sample video clips from the "We Are One" Concert, January 18, 2009

To Inaugural Essay Try the Inauguration Quiz To The Inauguration Lesson Plan Visit the 53rd Inauguration Through the Eyes of an Average American To Election Central 2008


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