CLAUDINE HELLMUTH
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
inauguration day!
Yesterday was inauguration day and I cannot believe I was there! My friend Martha was in town staying with us just for the event. We all got up early at 6:45am to get ready to head down to the mall to be as close to the inauguration as possible! Paul came with us for a little bit before he had to work at 11am. I was so glad he could come down to at least see all the excitement and help us navigate the crowds!

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!

crosa_on18th_inauguration

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.

inauguration_day

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.

claudine_paul_inauguration

claudine+marth_inauguration

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.

barack_swearing_in

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.

"yes we can" opener

Other items for sale that we thought were funny: Obama Butter (moisturizer), The Audacity of Soap, Obama Snowglobes, and restaurants even had Obama Burgers.

obama_burger

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!

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COMMENTS:
Sounds like a wonderful day and to know you were there for history in the making...that is just awesome! I love the Obamanos Inauguration Special...how hilarious is that?! lol

Peace & Love,
~Barb~
http://craft-therapy.blogspot.com
 
Wonderful summary, Claudine! I followed your tweets all day yesterday! What a great opportunity to be in D.C. at just the right time!
 
Great report. I'm so proud of you for going to the Mall and being there when history was made. The photos really convey the mood of the day.

mummy
 
thanks for freezing for the rest of us Claudine! BRRRR! the timing of your move to D.C. is just incredible - have so enjoyed your tweet and photo updates - and hi-lights of the retail offerings!!
Take care of yourself!!
 
I knew you'd be there with another wonderful report from the events of the day!
 
Thanks so much for sharing your personal reflections on the day. It was fun to see the photos of the crowds in so many areas. Watching the inaguration on tv was so memorable, but you were there and will have memories for a lifetime.
Nancy
 
I too followed your tweets yesterday and thought how it is definitely an exciting time to live in DC! Love the Obama can opener--classic. Great pics of you all bundled up, you sure don't look like you aren't used to the cold : )
 
How cool, or should I say cold! You may not be as warm as you were in Florida but you are certainly having some new, exciting adventures:)
 
Thanks for sharing your photos, they really capture the vibe. Congratulations Americans!
 
How Exciting!!! Thank you so much for sharing your stories and photos.
 
Thanks for sharing. I wish I could've been there, so it's nice to hear stories from people that were there. Isn't it amazing that one person can inspire so much hope and good will!
 
Thanks for sharing. It made it seem more personal than the tv pics. You sure have a good camera. Wonderful day for the whole world.
 
what an inspiring day! we watched from the comfort of our Northern CA home, but we kept the doors and windows open just so we could "feel" like we were there! LOL

thanks for sharing your experience with us!
xoxo
jul
 
Wow, I was watching from the WWII Memorial also! The vibe from the crowd was like nothing I've ever felt before and it's great to know your vibe was part of it!

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!!

Karen
in Virginia

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!)
 
Karen

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!!
 
SO COOL Claudine - I wish I could have been there :)
 
So happy you got to go. And I love that can opener!!
 
The Yes We Can opener made my day.
 
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