Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Ma Chere and I were down on the Mall today to celebrate the Inauguration. Our caregiver had the kids, so we headed down around 8:30am or so. Our metro train originated one spot away, so we got a seat. The driver kept changing her mind about which stations were closed. Finally she announced "L'Enfant is...off the chain." We got off at Gallery Place.

I hoped to stand in the same spot where I had held a sign ("One Mandate: Ballot Reform") and booed in 2001, and maybe kiss my wife there. (We didn't meet until two months later.). But the pedestrian access to the parade route was choked with people. So we picked and darted our way west of the White House and down to the Mall. We hopped over some chains and cement barriers, and eventually found a spot on the hill where the Washington Monument stands. With that monument over our shoulder and a view of the Capitol and a pair of jumbotrons in front of us, we stood and waited in the cold for a few hours.

From the hill, we could see the crowds. I've seen crowds before, but none like that. The AP said over 1 million, and it was certainly easy to imagine 1,000 blocks of 1,000 people from where we stood. It was awesome, standing at roughly the midpoint between the steps of the Capitol and the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The crowd was so peaceful and polite. I've read that democracy is a religion, and people were definitely respecting their co-religionists. Once the formal program was underway, announcements to "please sit" or "please stand" were greeted with mirth. The claps of gloved hands resounded like thunderstrikes.

The inaugural speech was great, and if you look I'll bet you can find a video of it on the WWW.

After it was over, it was nuts. Watching 1m people drain out of perhaps 15 points of egress took a while. Unfailingly polite, the crowd let us escape after about 75 minutes. We saw the Marine helicopter fly overhead at about 2pm. It circled back around, presumably to see the spectacle again (as opposed to a victory lap.)Another 15 minutes, and we were having lunch in an Adams Morgan restaurant.

For a bedtime story, I told Boom about how kings used to transfer power: from father to son, rarely to daughter, and all to frequently after much fighting. But now Barrack Obama gets to fly the big, pointy helicopter over our house. (Boom feels bad that John McCain doesn't get to ride.).

For his bedtime song, I sang him the National anthem.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


At 11:27 AM, Anonymous scd said...

Not to pick nits, but that big, pointy helicopter was not a 'victory lap,' but was instead your one final opportunity to sling a rock at ole' GWB on his way out of town!

Missed opportunities...


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