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