Obama Inauguration: Inauguration Day

On Inauguration Day we woke to a beautiful morning. Well, sunrise wouldn’t occur for another 5 hours, but that was okay.  Knowing we would not be able to catch a train, we decided to try and arrive down by the gate before the Metro.  The walk began at 3:15 am and again at 3:25 when we realized we didn’t have the tickets.  It was relatively uneventful except for the occasional crowd heading home from the late closing bars.  Eventually we got to the Mall and were swallowed into a sea of humanity.

When we emerged onto Independence Ave, we were fortunate to immediately locate the line for the Silver ticket entrance. (Don’t be fooled by the important sounding color of our tickets. We think they gave the minions the silver tickets to make us feel important.)  While we waited we had a good view of the Capitol as dawn began to break.  Around 6:30, a limited number of those of us in line were allowed through the gate, but we were still not able to go through security.  Later, the crowd was told to make a path and everyone began cheering when it realized it was moving for TSA security guards.  The TSA guards looked happy. We heard one man exclaim that this was the only time in his life people would ever cheer for him.

Finally, the gates were open!   After being screened, there was a mad dash to the front of the silver zone.  We were in the front row, but there was a big tree blocking our view of the Capitol, so we made our way back to the center of the zone and found ourselves in the third row with a great view.  As we looked back down the National Mall we were amazed to see that it was already completely filled and it wasn’t even 8 am – (thank you Mom for the tickets!).  Slowly the area behind us began to fill.  Around 9 am, a gentleman from the Denver Post came by and got up on a pedestal to take some photos and then took the time to take pictures of people with their cameras.  It was really nice of him and lots of individuals were very grateful of the time he spent snapping the images.

Shortly after he left there was minor chaos.  The area was fenced in with plastic fences.  On the left hand side individuals had broken through a couple times and then someone near us pushed through and it was like a dam breaking.  The crowd surged forward to fill the gap between the National Mall and the Capitol Reflecting Pool that was reserved for spectators with disabilities.  After the reshuffling we found ourselves at the top of a staircase next to a wheelchair-bound African-American grandmother.

Over the next couple hours we watched the entire area around the Capitol Reflecting Pool fill with people. Even though everyone was crowded together, the atmosphere was incredible. People were excited to be witnessing history. Around 10:15, the children’s choir began to sing. They sounded like angels! The Marine Corps band started around 10:30. Every so often, the jumbotrons would show a motorcade pulling into the back of the Capitol. We could never tell who it was, but everyone always cheered. A little after 11:30, the ceremony started! We were so excited to see President Obama get sworn in that Rob even forgot to take pictures of it on the screen. After the ceremony, we started to leave our area. About 20 minutes (and 20 yards) later, cheers filled the Mall as we watched Former President Bush’s helicopter fly away. This day was definitely one to remember.

Below is a sampling of the photos, but the rest can be found on Smugmug. This post by Dustin Reynolds shows the satellite images of the crowds and this post by Benjamin Solomon shows events from a couple different angles.  Finally, this gallery has some amusing captions and images. Enjoy!

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~ by pagespages on January 26, 2009.

4 Responses to “Obama Inauguration: Inauguration Day”

  1. […] Read more:  Obama Inauguration: Inauguration Day « The Pages’ Page […]

  2. Beautiful pics Rob, thanks so much for sharing them!

  3. […] A couple days before the Inauguration we were invited to the Midwest Inaugural Ball. After Obama was sworn in we made our way home to prepare for the ball. It was the first time both of us had dressed up in […]

  4. […] program or of Discovery itself, but yesterday also gave us a chance to reflect on all the history we’ve witnessed in our short time here.  I wonder what will happen […]

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