January 20, 2009

part of it

Wow, today was such a crazy mix of everything that I really don't know how to process it all, and I don't think I have yet. Dad and I both got less than an hour of sleep last night before trekking to West (byGod) Virginia to catch a 5am charter bus into DC. As expected, lines were long, temps were cold, and crowds were huge. The system of navigating the streets and getting into your appropriate ticketed area was a mess, as was the shuttle system. Some people on our bus had shuttle rides of 3-4 hours (for less than 2 miles) - Dad and I lucked out with ours. We eventually (and luckily) found the entrance to our ticketed area (which was hidden) and wandered through a few different places before settling on one near the reflecting pool in front of the Capitol. Rick Warrens invocation put an obvious chill on the ceremonies, but at least I could take comfort in the fact that it was so terribly written and delivered. One fun surprise, though lacking somewhat in taste, was the chorus of 'na-na, hey-hey, goodbye' that grew and swelled over the DC mall when George Bush was introduced. Dad and I both mentioned later that we were surprised in the lack of a feeling of emotion to Obama's speech, though after watching it again on video, its clear that it came off much better on video than in person. Dad and I had both wondered if that would be the case, especially given the crowd and distractions around us - while people were generally fine, nerves were getting frayed with getting around and most everyone was freezing. Emotional spontaneity did make another appearance later. As everyone was leaving, George Bush was shown on the jumbotrons getting into his helicopter. As he flew over the mall, the massive crowd joyously erupted in cheers and 'byes' while waving at the chopper. As for Dad and I, after getting caught in several one-way crowd labyrinths after the speech, we decided we were too 'over it' to bother with trying to catch any of the parade, and walked back to where our bus was parked at RFK stadium (thought not without first stopping for a pic on the iced-over reflecting pool). The walk was longer than we thought, but after some more shuttle horror stories from bus-mates, it seems it still may have been the best choice. Despite all these obstacles, in the end it was still a pretty amazing day and it was exciting to be a part of it, plus fun to share it with my Dad.


Anonymous said...

On TV it looked overwhelming, it was the best seat in the house. We didn't miss the cold you had to withstand in order to be there, hope you enjoyed this history making event with your pop. Thanks for giving us first hand coverage.

Jim said...

You and your dad were lucky to be able to witness such a historical event in person. We were also lucky enough to personally hear him speak during his campaign. It truly was an amazing moment.