Worlds & Time

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration

I was in that crowd of 2 million people on the mall for the inauguration. I'll add more about it later, but if you want to know where I was in the crowd, I was behind the fourth giant big screen.

Update added 1/28/09:

So, Ben had tickets to the parade. I mentioned that already. But we really wanted to be on the mall. After all, that was the event, from a historical perspective.

I also had a friend that was going to be marching in the parade, Ian, in the first gay/lesbian delegation to ever appear in a presidential inauguration. So the plan was to walk the few blocks up from the mall after the parade.

So we woke up early, about 6 am and trudged down from near M and 12th st. to 7th, where we were led to believe there was going to be an entrance to the mall. There wasn't, so we ended up walking to the 3rd st. tunnel and through it, under the Capitol until we got to the other side. Then we had to walk away from the mall to the first open entrance on 12th st. We got to the mall around 7:30 am.

The crowd was massive. I mean, wall to wall people. We staked out a small claim behind the fourth jumbo tron, maybe 650,000-750,000 people back from the front. The Sunday concert was being replayed on the jumbo trons, but it was hard to hear what was going on. Occasionally something cool would happen. For example, everyone around us would sing when the concert musicians asked us too. "This land is your land" sounds fairly powerful when sung by thousands and thousands of people at a time.

Even from the first moment we got there, we didn't have enough space. I was thinking about sitting down, and I should have, but people would have been tripping over me left and right. People winding their ways through the crowd literally had to push their way through, sometimes so much that I had to hold my breath.

We stood there for hours. The live coverage of the event didn't start until about 10 am, I think. And even then, it was mostly just people being introduced. Ben played "name the congressman/congresswoman" from the big screen, and did a lot better than I did.

Finally we got to the heavy hitters. The Supreme Court, the former presidents, and then the (now former) moron-in-chief.

The music was beautiful. The oath was (as you're heard) bungled a bit. And then there was lots of cheering.

Then we tried to go north to the parade, but it was closed off. Yarg.

So we had to walk back through the tunnel, with a few stops for abortive attempts to get around various barriers and onto the Metro. When we finally got to security for the parade, my feet, which had been bothering me for hours, were killing me. Ben was nearly carrying me around.

So, we stood in line for twenty minutes or so, but due to our false starts and my problems walking, we realized that it was nearly 3:30. We'd probably already missed the majority of the parade, and by the time we got through security, it would probably be over. So we stopped off at a Tapas place to eat, and then headed back the apartment. Via cab, because even after having a chance to sit I could barely walk.

So, we get into the apartment, and what's on television? The parade. It had been postponed because of Kennedy's seizure. Of course, I ended up missing Ian in the parade live, so I don't have any pictures of him, but I do have some pretty cool video. You see, he was being filmed by a camera crew for a reality show that I've never before heard of called "My 1st Time."

His episode is currently available for viewing here.

Awesome! Congrats Ian!

I do have a few pictures of things that I've mentioned above:

The crowd at the fictional 7th St. entrance.

Walking into the 3rd St. tunnel to get to the mall at around 7 am.

Coming out of the tunnel on the far side of the mall from where we'd started.

The crowd behind us at the mall, looking toward the Washington monument.

An extremely zoomed in view of what I could see of the Capitol building behind the jumbo tron.

Zoomed out a bit. Everything that we could see was through the jumbotron.

Our first glimpse of Barack Obama as he comes through the halls of the capitol to approach the steps.

This image contains a live image of the crowd going wild for their first view of Barack Obama.

Obama taking the oath.

The crowd goes wild.

21 gun salute.

A better view of the Capitol, taken as we finally started to leave.

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