Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The whole story....

At 3 am I woke up, got dressed in long johns, wind proof pants, t-shirt, polar fleece shirt, wool socks, and coat, hat, and 2 pair of gloves. I went in and woke up Ann K and Ann G, and they got all bundled up as well. I decided to bring 2 waterproof pads to sit on, since I figured the marble or ground would be cold, and possibly damp. I also had cereal bars, water, and string cheese. We left for the train station at 3:45, and as we were driving there were very few people on the road. I was getting nervous that there was no need to have gotten everyone up so early. Then we came around the bend. The line of cars to get into the metro station was huge! I am really glad we didn't arrive any later than we did. We got parked by about 4:15, then went into the station. It was already hopping, but we got on the second train that came through. The train filled up quickly, and we were packed in like sardines by the time we made it to Metro Center. We arrived at about 5, and stopped at Starbucks for coffee. It was packed and the lines for the parade was already forming! The parade wasn't even starting for 10 hours! We decided to go to the Lincoln Memorial to watch so we headed there. We were about 12 blocks or so from it, and there were many roads blocked so getting there was frustrating. We finally made it to the memorial. It was still dark, and very cold. There were about 100 people already on the steps, and more milling around. The Jumbotron screens were not set up yet, and it made me nervous. There were supposed to be three! The Lincoln Memorial bathrooms were open so we decided to use flush toilets while we had the chance! On the way I asked a man who was working in the area about the screens and he said they were cancelled and to move up to the next closer ones. Ugh. The next closer ones were at the WWII memorial, but it is behind the hill of the Washington Monument, so if we went up the hill we could get a view of the capitol and the screens. We went up the hill and found a good spot. It was steadily filling up, but not yet to sardine level. We were cold, but somehow Ann K actually managed to NAP on the ground! Amazing. Ann G and I were just too damn cold to do much. I finally was so cold that I wanted something hot at any cost, so Ann K and I went to seek out refreshments. The line at the tent was about 45 min long and at the end was cruddy hot chocolate, an 8 oz cup for 2 bucks! And I thought Starbucks was bad! At the very least it was hot! I also got a hotdog for 6 dollars, yikes! And they didn't have relish. When we finally returned it had reached sardine levels in the crowds and we had a really hard time finding Ann and our previous spot. We tried the cell phone, but the system was overwhelmed and not working. We finally found her and we enjoyed some hot chocolate, or at least warm chocolate. It was about 10:30 am now and the band started playing. Prior to this they had replayed the HBO special from the night previous that had been at the Lincoln Memorial, Bruce Springsteen et all. It was nice to have something to watch while you're waiting. The crowd kept packing in during this time, and taller people kept gathering in front of me. It's always at times like this I hate being short! So pretty soon, it was 11:30 and the congressmen and women were introduced, we watched the former presidents being led down the hall and introduced, then the kids, then President Bush and Laura, and VP Dick and Lynne. You really couldn't hear it on TV, but as George W came out the crowd let out this enormous thundering BOO. I am in no way and never have been a supporter, but I was extremely bothered by this. This was not the time nor the place for this very disrespectful gesture. He's done. It's over. Just let it go. Then Michelle came out, and the crowd roared. When they finally brought out Barack the crowd literally vibrated the earth with the cheering and clapping and stomping! It was amazing to feel the thunder that 1.8 million people can create! To hear them chanting his name was incredible. The sea of people in front of me as far as I could see was breathtaking. The speech was very powerful, and inspiring, as always. He makes me feel that it will all be ok. Many people were crying, I wasn't because I was seriously just too cold. The rest of the inauguration went fine, and then came the mass exodus to get out! It was so crazy, the police kept moving the exits farther and farther down the mall. We were literally trapped into a mass of people slowly moving between row after row of port-o-potties. By the way, there was enough port-o-potties, there were not really any lines to use them. I used one, out of sheer desperation, but I brought latex gloves and antibacterial wipes and left it in much better shape than I found it. Ugh! We finally got out at 19th street and made our way slowly back to the Metro Center. The national guard kept shifting crowds from one street to another, and there were so many people that no one was on sidewalks, instead just taking the streets! We stopped to buy souvenirs, and got some hot drinks and a treat at Au Bon Pain. Then we finally got on the metro and arrived back in Gaithersburg. We got back home about 13 hours after we had left that morning. I am sore and tired, huge blisters on my feet, and it took me hours to feel warm again. So, would I do it again? No. Not unless I had a ticket, or warmer weather. Twenty degree temps for 12 plus hours was too much for me. But I am really grateful that I was there to see this. 8 years ago, when I saw Barack speak at the DNC I would never have thought I would be lucky enough to be present at his inauguration of our great country. I felt blessed to have been a little part of such an amazing event!

3 comments:

Little Blessings said...

Good for you for braving it. I might have chickened out and gone home after freezing for 20 min. Jason didn't want to go too? Or did he get stuck with Will duty because you desperately wanted to attend?

Kelly and Jason said...

Since my friends were coming to town and someone had to stay with Will,Jason lost the toss. He did want to go, but not bad enough to leave Will with someone else. He watched it all on TV though, warm, and with plumbing available. ha!

Little Blessings said...

Maybe he got the better end of the deal?