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I Went to Obama's Washington Inauguration

 

Cold but happy...

Weather was cold and colder. After living in LA for the past 20 years I was in heaven. Seriously, I was tired of sunshine 24/7 and in D.C. I got to wear long johns, gloves, scarf, my late mother's J. Crew winter coat and a knit beanie. It was great!

Friends and colleagues had all asked for a piece of history, so I accumulated countless pieces of memorabilia. My carryon on the flight home was crammed full with buttons, lapel pins, t-shirts, coffee mugs, posters, mouse pads, wristbands, even an Inauguration yo-yo. It was truly BarackStock.

 

Finding our place...

As the January 20 date drew closer the media kept warning about the anticipated crowds and how the trains and buses would be crammed so I'd made arrangements with a friend of Mark and Dan's to stay at her daughter's apartment in D.C. the night before the Inauguration.

Before dawn we all set out to walk the 12 blocks to the National Mall. My group wanted to be closer to the Capitol. I stuck with my plan and headed off in the opposite direction. Already thousands of people were out and about. The largest block party I'd ever seen.

As I approached the Lincoln Memorial I saw other folks had the same idea. People were already seated on the steps. Sadly, watching the swearing in from there was not to be. The huge jumbotron screens that were prevalent during the concert had been moved. The closest screen was now near the Korean War Memorial. Close to the Lincoln Memorial but not close enough to be able to see from the steps.

 

I was an email reporter...

Undaunted, I paid my respects to Mr. Lincoln (one of the most impressive pieces of sculpture in the world) then headed over to the Korean War Memorial. I staked out a spot to stand and started sending emails. A play by play as the theatre of the historical day played out.

It was bitter cold but spirits were high. Folks were playing cards, talking and texting on cell phones, trying to keep warm, and waiting. By noon I couldn't feel my feet but didn't care.

 

I saw history being made...

As the hoopla began all eyes focused on the big screen. When images of Teddy Kennedy, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter and the Clintons were broadcast there were heartfelt cheers and applause. What had been a virtually empty space at 8am was now filled. It was a large celebratory crowd, which, thankfully could move and breathe.

As Barack Obama was sworn in I tried to catch a glimpse of the faces of people around me. I saw tears, smiles, glee, and relief. Those hopeful jubilant images now help buffer memories of injustices and inhumanity.

This Journeywoman had witnessed history in the making. It was well worth the hassles. In fact, it was a privilege.


 

 

 

Check out these female-friendly Washington tips

Obama, One Degree of Separation in Ottawa

Want to see Claudia Eastman's Washington Photo Album?
Go to: Pictures from C Eastman

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