As we left our apartment on U street people were already crowding the streets even though we were a good mile from the Mall. Everyone was excited and stopping to take photos. Even some of the National Guardsmen were being nice and taking group shots of people!
Our original plan was to head straight down 12th and end up on the Mall near the American History Museum, but the parade security was situated so that it funneled us all the way to the other end of the Mall near the Lincoln Memorial. As we walked, the streets were so filled with people that we could not stay on the sidewalks. The police kept trying to get people to stay on the sidewalks but everyone would spill over and end up in the middle of the street anyway. It was impossible to walk quickly you had to give into the crowd and go at their pace.
When we finally got to the Mall we found a nice place at the WW2 memorial where we had a wonderful view of 3 jumbotrons, the Washington Monument, the Capitol, and the Jefferson Memorial on our left. Behind us was the Lincoln Memorial, so we felt like we were in the perfect spot to view history in the making! This part of the Mall was much less crowded than the other parts but it was still packed with people.
By the time we got there it was about 9:30am and we settled in to wait for 2 more hours before the Inauguration Ceremony would begin. We were behind a small wall at the Memorial which people were not allowed to climb on. People would come along, notice the empty wall, hop up and then the police would yell at them to get down. This would happen over and over again every couple of minutes. Each new group of people thinking it was their original idea to hop up there and then being shocked when the police told them to get down. It was very entertaining and really helped pass the time in the freezing weather! Eventually the police gave up and let people climb on the wall of the Memorial which I thought was kind of sad. It is a WW2 Memorial after all and should be respected.
When Barack Obama was sworn in everyone cheered, some people cried, lots of people high-fived. You could have heard a pin drop during his speech as everyone hung onto every word he was saying. Then it was time to head out and start the long walk away from the Mall and the crowds. We ended up getting back to our apartment around 3pm, so it was a long day in 30 degree weather but so worth it!
Vendors were selling all kinds of things. My favorite was the "Yes We can" Opener which I just had to buy.
Other items for sale that we thought were funny: Obama Butter (moisturizer), The Audacity of Soap, Obama Snowglobes, and restaurants even had Obama Burgers.
Our neighbor even bought handwarmers by the case and sold them and made a bunch of money. Wishing I had thought of that!
The rest of the day was still filled with excitement, we could hear bands playing on U street, we watched the parade on TV and from a local Sports Bar on the big screen TV there. I couldn't get enough of it! We kept watching long after we were exhausted from the day!
It was such a thrill to be there and we couldn't have picked a better time to live in DC!
Labels: Obama Inauguration 2009
Peace & Love,
Take care of yourself!!
thanks for sharing your experience with us!
I saw only one vendor with T-shirts. Do you know what street you were on when you got the bottle opener? I'm thinking about heading back in this weekend just to hunt for souvenirs!!
PS - I'm on the wait list for your class next month in Reston but I got in to Lesley's class so I think I'll actually get to meet you! (and her!)
I got the can opener from a store called Dekka at around 15th and U on U street. It's a store on the second level. I think they still have more!
See you in Reston! I'll also be at the Queen's Ink in MD March 14th for a one day class!!