Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Witnessing History

I have a love-hate relationship with DC. Given my druthers, if I am in the states, this is not where I would choose to live. I don't like the traffic, I don't like the weather. But the job is here, when I am in the states, so I am here.

I do like the easy access to so much of what DC has to offer. Great restaurants, museums...and inaugurations.

I meant to stay home. Ask any of my friends, I planned to barricade myself in my apartment until it was all over. Which is not to say I wasn't excited, just that I planned to watch it on tv from the warmth of my apartment.

Besides, in addition to being cold, all the bridges from Virginia into the District were closed.

I went anyway.

It was cold. I wore more layers than I can count and I was still cold (though the ear muffs were a great investment). And it was crowded. I spend about an hour and a half crammed like a sardine into the metro. And then I spent even more hours crammed into the mall (and risked getting trampled trying to get off the mall at the end) all for a glimpse of history. I couldn't even see the Capital building from where I stood.

I never found a friend I was supposed to meet there, but I found a good spot near a jumbo-tron and had a great view of the ceremony. I laughed with the crowd when the speaker told everyone to be seated, and cheered with them when my future boss, Hillary Clinton, came in with her husband. I chanted "O-Ba-Ma" with them, and I cheered with them when our new President took his oath and made his inspiring speech. I am optimistic.

I am still disappointed that Rick Warren was allowed to be part of the ceremony, and trying to get off the Mall was an exercize in patience when places we had been told would be open were closed off. I ended up walking a long way to find an open metro station, and stood in line with what seemed like thousands of people waiting just to go downstairs onto the ramp. Metro police stopped the line when the platform was full, and yelled over a bullhorn. "Watch the people in front of you. When they move, you move. When they stop, you stop." By the time I got to the platform, the whole crowd was repeating it with him. But I still made it home in time to watch the parade, since you had to choose that or the ceremony.

I'm glad I went, endured the cold and inconvenience, and got to be a part of it all. I am glad I am American, and as an American Indian, glad to live in a time when a person of color can be President.

And I am proud and honored to serve this great country.


melissa said...

The City of Alexandria had a jumbo-tron set up in Market Square. We went there instead. I'm guessing there were about 200 people there, though the crowd didn't really start showing up until 11 or so.

It was nice to be able to walk home (after lunch and some grocery shopping), even though it was windy and much too far below freezing...

The Hegemonist said...

I loved this post. I hate/love DC too, and I miss the U.S. terribly today.

Digger said...

I cheered enough for all the FSOs who wanted to be there but couldn't! You included!

Z. Marie said...

I missed working at a newspaper during the inauguration.
How did you feel about "the red man can get ahead, man"?