January 21, 2009

Eye Witness to History


Yesterday, January 20, 2009, I stood with 2 million other people in the freezing cold to witness the Inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African-American President of the United States. Wow, even just typing that gives me chills. Up until yesterday, I had never been a willing witness to an historical event. I witnessed the horror of September 11th, not by choice, but still unable to tear myself away. I was too young to fully understand the historical events of the Challenger or the Berlin Wall, but yesterday...I will remember this day. I will remember this amazing historical day and I will tell my children "I was there." And I have the buttons and pictures to prove it!

My part-time job took a bus of 40 teenagers and 10 staff members to D.C. late Monday night and we crashed at a community center. I am way too old to be sleeping on a hardwood floor, and today my body is paying for it. I feel like someone beat me up with a baseball bat, but it was worth it. We woke up at 5AM and hit the streets by 6, walking towards the mall. We were only about 5 blocks away, but since there was so much pedestrian traffic and road closings, it took us 1.5 hours to get to the National Mall. Our group parked themselves in front of one of the HUGE jumbo-trons so that we could see everything. Some people wanted to get closer to see the capital, but it just wasn't possible. With a group of other people's kids, we needed to make sure that if anything happened, we could get out fast. In the end, though, it didn't matter - we had a great view for a great event.

I could tell you about the crowds, and how it took us 3 hours to move 5 blocks, but the telling doesn't quite describe the situation. If you watched the Inauguration on TV, you surely saw the millions of people on the Mall, waving flags. Now, imagine ALL of those people trying to leave at the same time, yet being confined to one street because of the parade route. Yeah, I got really close with lots of strangers. But the best part was no one was fussy, angry, pushing, shoving or complaining. Yeah, maybe some people muttered under their breath, but everyone was in an upbeat mood. We were starving, freezing, exhausted and exhilirated! I finally made it home by 8PM and just crashed. I'm still exhausted today, but it was 100% worth it.

Now, finally...I feel a sense of optimism and hope for our country. I don't know what the next 4 years will bring, but I can only hope that we will move onward and upward. President Obama, don't let me down. We need you.



me "with" Obama


Swearing In


All the layers! Plus hand and foot warmers


Part of the crowd. See the line of white in the background?
That was one tiny section of the thousands of porta-potties.

10 comments:

Valerie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

It's days like yesterday that make me so proud to be an American. I bet you had an amazing time. Thanks for sharing!

Erin said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

That's awesome!!!

wifeplzak said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

what an awesome experience!

wifeplzak said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

what an awesome experience!

madebymel said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

What an amazing opportunity! Thank you for sharing your pics!

Laura P. said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

that's so neat that you were able to be there!

Pim said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I was glued to the TV all night (as it is 6 hrs later here)! This is not only a new day for the USA but also for Europe and our relationship with the USA. We looked as much forward as a lot of Americans to see the Bush-era end! Great to see you having able to witness this historic event in democratic history!

Love from Amsterdam!
Pim

Anonymous said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

OMG!!
You were there! Me and Pim both watched it last night, as so many of our fellow dutch country-people did.
I wore my Obama-cap to work today, and all I got was smiles all around me, even on the bus to work! It is certainly a day we all will remember and yes Beth, let's hope he can clean the mess that Bush left in 8 years, in the next 4...
All my love from Holland xx Marloes

Tracy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I wish I could have been there -- what a great experience. . .at least I can say I was in Chicago on election night :) I miss you and I hope all is well!!

rbmunki423 said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am so jealous! That is so cool. Good for you.

I had to work & didn't even get to watch it on t.v.