It has been a busy place around here lately, both in our house and around town. In case you missed it, the 57th inaugural was on Monday. And, since we are crazy, we ventured out to experience the grand festivities.
The Capitol-a few days before the inauguration and on a much nicer day
I've watched my fair share of inaugurations on television over the years, but this was my first opportunity to experience one in person.
We started out on the overextended metro. Although the number of people using the trains was comparable to a regular workday, these trains were filled with tourists, school groups, and a slew of people who were clearly not subway savvy. It would have annoyed me, but I had my first real celebrity siting that day.
I saw Ken Jeong (best known for his roles in the Hangover series and Community) on our train. Brian is not convinced it was him, and I didn't want to be one of those people that try to sneak a picture on my phone or run up to him gushing about how hilarious he is, so you'll just have to take my word for it (trust me, it was him).
After the excitement of seeing my very first celebrity up close, we were greeted by a mob of people getting off the train. A mob of people that weren't moving. After a few minutes of complete failure and/or overload on the metro system, officials just opened the gates and let everyone out. That joy was short lived, however, when the thousands of folks getting off the trains realized they would have to walk up the escalators that were also malfunctioning. You would have thought they were being forced into climbing a mountain or something as much as people were complaining.
When we finally made it above ground, we were met by yet another huge crowd of people. Although we had made a plan on how to get to the mall where the inauguration would take place, this was thrown out the window immediately. Every street had been blocked off so that everyone had to enter at the same place. I know this was done for security purposes, but it was seriously annoying. We walked along like sheep for a mile before looping around to where we had started on the other side of the Smithsonian buildings.
We weren't lucky or smart enough to get tickets, so we were in the non-ticketed area, far, far away from the Capitol and the important people.
We secured our spot shortly after 10 am and prepared to be bored for the next hour or so. The giant screens set up around the mall played prerecorded messages from various entertainers which helped pass the time. Soon though, the screens started showing live images of politicians, performers, and celebrities arriving. There were cheers and jeers, mostly along party lines, for the politicians and well deserved adoration for Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Somehow, all the people near us got flags to waive, except us.
Once everyone was introduced and seated, the real fun began. I won't recap the entire program (you can find a list of speakers and performers here), but I will say that we listened to some beautiful performances and words. We didn't see much, but that didn't stop me from attempting to take pictures of the occasion.
Taken while Obama was taking his oath, not that you can tell
We stuck with viewing things on the screens, which came out funky in this picture. That giant black line wasn't on the screen as the picture shows.
Even though we couldn't actually see any of the speakers or performances, and the swearing in of Biden and Obama was just ceremonial, and getting back home took twice as long as the inauguration program lasted, it was amazing just to experience such an important moment in our nation's history. That being said, I'm glad the pomp and circumstance only comes out every four years, because it's a lot to deal with.
What did you think of Obama's second Inaugural? Would you ever attend an event like this?