January 20, 2009

Obama Inauguration: I was there

So my journey began with an alarm clock ringing at 5:30 a.m. and me bundling up under a Washington DC sweatshirt, which I had to buy yesterday for warmth and an Inaugural long sleeve shirt to go underneath it. I was also outfitted in Obama flare provided by Pepsi street teams. It was barely 6 a.m. and the streets were already crowded and street vendors were setting up shop. I was able to get to the Mall area easy enough, although I started feeling like an ant on it's journey with a stream of other ants.

Once on the lawn area (near the carousel and MSNBC) everyone was crowded in front of the JumboTron. At first I had a decent area of space, although I was barely at the center and couldn't even get to it if I tried. Although some did, but they soon found themselves caught not able to move forward or backward anymore. An hour later, I was squished up against three people from D.C. and had a bunch of middle-schooler's pushing from behind. I couldn't see anything, so just took shots from my camera by pointing it up and over my head. Although some lucky people were up in trees getting far superior shots.

My view:

It was easy to get overwhelmed in this mosh pit. I had brought a hotel towel to sit on, but there was no attempting that without getting toppled. After another hour of getting shoved and seeing people squeeze past me. I decided to move off to the side, where I had entered. Here I found a bit more space and could see the screen whenever someone's head moved, but I also started getting sleepy. I still had three hours ago and the area didn't seem to be getting better or worse, so I risked getting warmed up in a hotel lobby. I wasn't the only one. People were sleeping and hanging around the entire floor. Did I forget to mention that it was only 19 degrees and I could barely feel my toes? I kept asking myself, why am I here? I could hear better if I was in front of my TV. However, there was a unified excitement to be there and to say you were one of those specks in the crowd on TV for years and years to come as this day goes down in history.

Minutes before Noon, there was definitely a buzz in the air. People started moving in place, getting revved up. Everyone looked at their watches and then roared into cheers, hollers, clapping when Obama appeared on the screen. At this point the crowd sort of swarmed in again, which was kind of scary, but warming. There were a lot of echoes of encouragement when he said things like hope or mentioned the African American leaders before him. Oh and lots of singing with Aretha. No one immediately near me cried or anything, but they were surely riveted and it's at that moment when his speech started, when I was glad to say, "I was there."
Afterwards, when walking back (it felt like I was being carried back due to the quick streaming of people flowing past me) everyone was happy again, happy to be getting warm and happy with the future of the country and of course happy with President Obama's speech. The D.C. woman next to me in her fur lined hat had said, "he said it all!" I couldn't agree more.

You can also read my Twitter updates during the morning here. I sadly lost internet connection later in the day from my blackberry and cell, so the tweets stop around 11 a.m.


  1. Ah, Tara, I'm so glad you got to be a part of it and we at least got to live a little through your posts and Tweets. Thank you! Also glad you didn't end up becoming a carpet for the masses or a popsicle. :)

  2. What an amazing experience! I caught some of your tweets throughout the day, so exciting.

  3. wow, you really are so lucky. that must've been such a great experience to be apart of! thanks for the updates throughout the day, i appreciated them.

  4. How cool that you were there! This will definitely be story to share for years to come to say that you were a part of it all.

  5. Beyond cool. Now you have more to add to your book, "The fabulous life of Tara".

  6. This is one of those monumental periods in our history and you were there!

    That's amazing and you can share this with generations after you.

  7. I am so happy for you that you were able to go. What an experience!!

  8. I wish!! I was in an airport when everything was going on...but I followed along on CNN and then on the plane (Yay for TV on the plane!). My buddy works for CNN, so he was there. I also have a bunch of friends on the Hill who said the energy in DC was amazing.


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