Eastman is a California Journeywoman who claims
that travel keeps her sane. She's a film
and television location scout who always keeps our Journeywoman
website well supplied with wonderful travel tips. When Claudia
wrote to tell us she went to President Obama's inauguration, we
asked her to share her experience with everybody in our Network.
Here is the result. Thank you, Claudia.
Barack Obama won Ohio, I phoned my college chum Mark and said,
"Remember how you and Dan have been begging me to visit?
I'm coming for Inauguration Week."
Yes, I'd been caught
up in the jubilation when I phoned, but as the night wore on in
California, the more resolved I was to go.
I'm a baby boomer.
Grainy television images of Sheriff Jim Clark's dogs attacking
marchers on "Bloody Sunday", Alabama Governor George
Wallace's segregation rhetoric, and armed troops in Arkansas attempting
to block black school children from enrolling at Central High
snippets in my memory.
inauguration as the 44th President of the United States was historic.
I wanted to see Barack and Michelle in the White House. I was
hadn't visited Washington D.C. in 25 years and the first
thing I wanted to do was to go up in the Washington Monument.
It had been closed in 84.
I rode into
D.C. on the metro light rail with Melissa Merli, a reporter
for the Champaign Illinois News-Gazette who was also a houseguest.
We'd both purchased 'special' $20 passes imprinted with
a picture of Obama and after a 20 minute ride from the E.
Falls Church, Virginia station, we got off at the Smithsonian
stop. When we got to the Washington Monument a sign said,
"All tickets sold." It wasn't even 10am. How could
that be? A Park Ranger approached and I pleaded, "Can't
we go up?" "Absolutely," was the reply. "Free
today." "Go on in." Such charitable emotion
was prevalent that week. You could sense jubilation. I begin
to refer to the atmosphere as BarackStock.
descending from the Washington Monument we walked toward
the Lincoln Memorial. We could hear music and suspected
rehearsals were taking place for the concert. We were right.
John Mellencamp was singing the refrain "Ain't that
America" from "Little Pink Houses". Right
there in front of the Lincoln Memorial! How prolific!
headed off to find folks to interview I made a plan. What
would be more profound than to sit on the steps of the Lincoln
Memorial and watch the first African American to be sworn
in as President of the United States of America?