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23 January 2009 @ 12:46 pm
~Public because I can~ 2009 Inauguration  

Tuesday morning; wake up call was 4:00am. It actually came in at 4:02am, and after the phone rang 3 times I realized what it was, but only Emma could reach the phone. I thought the hotel room was under attack at first, actually, but whatever. I laid in bed for a while, even after the lights got turned on, because my eyes burned and all I could think of was, "Oh my God... it's happening today." Bush was out and Obama was in.

Eventually I did roll out of bed to get dressed, sitting down to eat breakfast (of cheerios~) on my bed around 4:45am before taking painkillers and joint supplements, because I was expecting a lot of walking. I shoved whatever I needed in my pockets; room key, school ID, ET pass, gum, chap stick, camera, phone, money,cough drops, because you weren't supposed to bring in any sort of large or even a medium sized bag. I had everything else in my purse and decided that could stay with Uncle~ Jimmy on the bus.  I didn't bother with a poncho, deciding that it'd be cruel to have it rain on Obama's first inauguration, and took my gloves, hat, coat and rainbow blanket with me downstairs to wait for the okay to board the bus. It was still practically pitch black out and I still felt delirious with sleep and really couldn't even comprehend the fact that we were going to the Capitol Building to watch Obama take his spot in office. It's all I could think about, and sitting on the bus at 5:15am heading back to D.C., it's all I could think about it, and even then I got teary eyed, because it was really an overwhelming feeling that came down on me. I stared out the window, watching the one or two cars pass by, only able to catch glimpses of background conversations passing through Fall Out Boy playing on my zune, wondering what exactly everything would be like and how everything would be running. It was definitely... different.

We parked 2-3 miles away from our check point for tickets. As we hopped off the mini-coach, we were handed our silver tickets, allowing us entry into the lamest part of ticket holders. Once that was settled, we started the walk, eventually running into one of the most hectic crowds I've ever been thrown into in my life, and all I could think of was, "Only for Barack Obama would I be doing this." I stared down at the ground, following John's legs for the most part, because looking up just got confusing. The streets were packed with people, police, cars and yelling. You literally had to push yourself everywhere and be rude if you wanted to keep up with the group and get out alive - and I'm totally not used to that. I hate crowds, I hate being around too many people, I hate  being rude, but it had to be done.

Around 6:15am we lined up outside the Air and Space museum. This is when we realized Jenna lost her ticket somewhere amongst the crowd and there was no way of finding it or having it returned.

The line was beyond slow for what seemed like hours. Zach, Matt and Derek failed miserably to try and sell a free red poncho for $5, but it was pretty hilarious to watch. When the line started moving, we were merged with hundreds of other people all heading in the same spot, and eventually it became another mad crowd sprawl to get to the security gates. Security was the most pathetic thing I've ever encountered in my life. Warped Tour, as Zach said, had more security than this place. The guards asked for your jackets to be unzipped, they patted your rib cage, and sent you in. No ticket checking, no taking large bags or umbrellas, no asking for medical notes, no pocket checking. Jenna was able to sneak in without a ticket - which is good, in a way, because I know if I had been her I would've jumped off of a building.

So once the group was all through security, we walked into the mall area and stood around. It was freezing cold but the early morning sun (now it was around 8:15am) was starting to harshly burn eyes of bystanders, all eagerly waiting for the ceremony to begin (although we all knew we had quite a bit of time; the musical precession was scheduled to start at 9:50am according to one of the newspapers I read today) There was people sitting in trees, people coming through with their kids, people in sleeping bags, people recording videos and audio blogs, and then there was Cape. Everyone else in my group was sitting on an array of trashbags and laying on each other to keep warm, because we had such a long wait. Later when everyone got up, they decided to get in a huddle~ instead. Somehow I became the target to get into this because I was just standing there, so I gave in and stood there and realized that this day was probably going to be one of the longest of my life.




It wasn't long after when someone's eye caught a mass of people running in one direction. It was either Matt or Zach who noticed, but the next thing I heard was, "Where are they going? MOVE MOVE MOVE!" So our whole group, who is now parent-less, has realized the plastic barrier got broken down and is now running through it. We go from standing in front of the mall to standing right on the edge of the reflecting pool, which was completely frozen. A lot of the group runs off to try and get closer, and a couple of us stand there like, "This is good enough for me; we can't get any closer anyway." So I said I'd go look for the rest of the group. While I'm walking down, I can hear security telling people to turn around and then I see the rest of my group and they said, "We can't get down that way." So we walk back. And, we're standing there before seeing a mass of people, once again, move. They're running up the side of the reflecting pool to get closer, and we make our move again. And it was really an amazing feeling, watching the Capitol Building get closer and closer as you realize that you're becoming a part of history.

When I meet back up with my group, we're  to the side of the front of the reflecting pool. There's a metal fence blocking people off from getting in front of the reflecting pool, because there's big marble steps and statues in front of the pool. Sure enough, people start hopping the fence. My entire group jumped it, and I stayed back because, hello, I can't jump a fence. It's physically impossible. But did I want to get on the other side of the fence? Yes. Few more minutes of waiting and I wind up being part of the group that pushed the fence out of the way. I'm walking across the short grassy area before stepping on the marble steps and then I look to my right... and see the biggest crowd I've ever seen in my life. It took my breath away for a moment. There were people all the way down to the monument, from what I heard later in the day. Everyone was standing shoulder-to-shoulder, freezing cold but everyone was happy.



this is when we were at the front/side of the pool



I meet up with my group again and at this point, the area's still a bit empty. I guess it was decided to stay on the steps instead of get closer, because if the crowd got worse, we wouldn't be able to see unless we were higher up. Of course, in due time, the small crowd grew into a mass; people were sitting on the actual statues. Our section was shoulder-to-shoulder and that's when I realized that the 2009 Inauguration was like the political woodstock of 1969; not one person was in a bad mood, or mean, or rude. Everyone was so willing to help (people were helping each other break down and jump fences) and talk and I, personally, felt like the people around me had been my friends for a while. Everyone was so different, too. Just from listening to everyone's conversations, you could get a vibe on how diverse this crowd was, and it was overwhelming, because everyone was gathered for the same exact reason; to witness the end of an error. It definitely was the era of change in America, and that change was the optimistic view point that everyone was lacking. There's a thin line between hope and hype, and standing in the crowd of the inauguration defined it for me; this was more than a phase. This was more than a trend. This was more than having a minority in office. This really was the epitome of Hope. Just those moments, even waiting for Obama to come out, change really had come to America, and it's for the better.

on the marble steps:



The musical precession had started, various political figures were being announced, everyone was excited and anxious and counting down Bush's final minutes. We wound up starting a wave, the electric slide, numerous chants, songs and ask-and-answer type things, like, "Who do we want?" "OBAMA!" "What do we need?" "OBAMA!" and all. It was really moving, and I don't think I can name many, of any, times where I was happier in my life.

Whenever one of the Bush's was announced, everyone started boo-ing or singing, 'na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye' and honestly, I don't know enough about H.W. Bush to boo or cheer for him, but I do know that I really did want to boo for the idiotic son, but I didn't. The man took the country into an un-necessary way and for that, he can't ever be forgiven. I don't care what's right or wrong for him. I don't care how much money he gave Africa, he screwed up big time and he was a moron to even consider he could make a good president. But, like the lady behind me said, "Don't even bother with him; this day is not about George Bush or his father, it's about Barack Obama."

Eventually, Joe Biden was sworn into office. This is when I started crying, and someone behind me said, "One down, one to go!" and everyone erupted into another cheering fit. Little American flags were flying like crazy in the air and camera flashes were non-stop. From where I was, I couldn't actually SEE anything. I was too far away to make out people's faces, and one screen was hidden behind a bunch of trees, and the other visible one was PLACED behind three trees. Like, I don't even understand that part, but whatever, I was there.

Obama was finally announced and out on the Capitol, and you couldn't even hear the announcer from where I was because the cheering was so loud. Immediately after he was sworn in, a canon went off and I, as bad as this is, thought it was a gun and my heart stopped for a second. Once that passed, I stood there and just... I couldn't even do anything. I was in so much shock of having a new president, finally, and it was Barack Obama. I couldn't even stop crying and everyone around me was ecstatic and chanting for him to start his speech. As soon as he started, it got dead silent, aside from the occasionally agreements and positive comments from the crowd. Everyone was hanging on to every word he said as if their lives depended on it, and you could see that just from looking around at people's faces. His whole speech was incredibly moving, but I think everyone teared up at this paragraph:

"To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. "

I have an audio recording of the speech from where I was: http://www.sendspace.com/file/5u4g3n
And the rest of my pictures are here: http://s417.photobucket.com/albums/pp257/dyingonthedancefloor/Inauguration%20Trip%202009/
My videos are also on youtube, and the channel name is xxsweetestxxsinxx

Aside from me, I wasn't getting misty eyed, I couldn't stop crying. I'm the type of person that always cries at an Obama speech, because it's overwhelming, and hearing it in person and being a part of that history really got me. I wasn't in a classroom, where the speech was killed by hearing, "Terrorists vote for Obama!". "Real Americans vote for McCain!", "Obama is starting the next generation of era" or anything about his race. I was in a place with millions of other people who all shared at least one interest I did, with a bunch of people that respected others opinions, with people of all different backgrounds, people who had come from California, people who were ready to make America great again, who were so supportive and hopeful that you never even wanted to leave. Even if it was under 9 degrees that day and couldn't feel a single muscle in my body, I never felt more reassured or had a warmer sense of hope and pride in myself, in this country, and people in this country.


As soon as the speech was over, the crowd started breaking up and we were stuck getting out. If you were watching the news and saw a group of teenagers walking on the reflecting pool, those were Cape kids :] I decided to walk through the crowd and get around the pool to leave. When we were out of the mall, almost every street was blocked off, street vendors were going nuts, and you literally could not get anywhere. We were at one museum and people literally tore the fence out of the ground to get through and jumped over walls and God, it was beyond crazy, it was nuts. It's not what I was expecting after Obama's oath to office.
Anyway, after a good hour or so of walking, we finally made it to the museum of history and crashed. We had all been on our feet in the freezing cold for 9 hours straight and when we got in the food court, we found a few tables and just crashed for 2 hours. Still, it was an amazing feeling.
I'll probably only do this again for Obama's next inauguration.
 
 
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