Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama's big day!


I went to a party the other day, you might have heard about on the news. A bunch of people stormed the Mall in Washington DC to witness history, the swearing in of Barrack Obama as our 44th President of the United States. I was there and I'm glad I went but honestly, I didn't really witness history. I witnessed alot of other people witnessing history, but it was still great.

There is something special about being in a area with millions of people that are all very glad to be there.

My wife and I set up camp at my daughter Erin's apartment the night before, which is just a short aerobic workout away from the Capitol. Our plan was to get up early, meet Erin's friends jenny and Liz and head down to the mall in hopes of grabbing some prime viewing spots. That didn't work out so well. It seems other people had the same idea, about a million and a half of them. We were very close to the Washington Monument which is neat, but that put us about 1 1/2 miles from the Capitol.

I've been trying to think of something to compare the experience of being in that crowd, and I'm coming up empty. The Phillies parade on Broad Street in Phila, where there were a reported 1 million fans, doesn't even come close.

While we were walking toward the Mall, we found ourselves on a highway that was closed for the day, walking shoulder to shoulder with strangers. As far as the eye could see in front and in back of us, it was just people walking, yelling and cheering. We took the "Mall" exit, yes, we actually walked up the exit ramp, me and a couple thousand other crazy Obama supporters. Just unbelievable.

As we walked toward the Mall, suddenly the crowd we were in just stopped. We realized then, we had arrived. Looking out in any direction, for as far as the eye could see, were people waving flags, yelling and screaming. We were lucky enough to end up near one of the jumbo trons, so we could see the ceremony on TV.

The truth is, I didn't see one politician. I couldn't even SEE the Capitol we were SO far away. I was standing in a crowd so dense, I may have been intimate with Linda from Texas who was on my right, not sure. It was uncomfortable and very cold. The thought of leaving your spot to go to the bathroom was unthinkable. I was hungry and thirsty.

All that being said, it was a day I will remember for the remaining days of my life. To be part of that crowd, to feel that energy when Obama said, "so help me God", it was something I will never forget.

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