Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Making History

The day DC has been preparing for since November 5th is finally here. It's time to inaugurate the 44th President of the United States of America. It's also time to see if all the contingency planning, security forces and public outreach has done enough to ensure that millions of people can get to and from the National Mall in an orderly fashion. After hearing doomsday predictions of crowd size and travel headaches, I decided to watch our peaceful transfer of power from the comfort of my own home. I can hear what you're probably saying to yourself right now: "But you live in the DC area! It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, you have to go check it out!" Yes, but it's cold as heck out there, I'm not a fan of crowds, and I didn't feel like saving my spot at 5am so I could see a motorcade drive past me in mere seconds at 2pm. I'm as excited as the next gal about today's events, but I'll take my inauguration with a pair of pajamas, a cup of hot tea, and Anderson Cooper giving me the play-by-play, thank you very much.

That said, I have been able to take advantage of other inauguration events during the long build-up to today. Sunday's star-studded concert at the Lincoln Memorial was high on my list of priorities, and it did not disappoint. You could feel the excitement in the air as people sang, danced and cheered through two hours of pointed speeches and rockin' music. I also had the chance to see a lot of the prep work that was being done this week to get everything ready for the goings-on. There was the constant setting up of security barriers, the ever-changing announcements about openings, closings, and hours of operation from Metro, the hanging of flags and banners, and yes, the delivery of row after row of port-a-potties. Last night I even attended an inauguration party, where a group of DC young professionals and a life size Barack Obama cardboard cutout fêted the new American political landscape until the wee hours of the morning. The photo-op possibilities were endless.

We're at 2 hours and counting until the official inauguration ceremony begins. I hope the folks who went to the National Mall remembered to bring a set of hand warmers and a whole lot of patience. It truly is an exciting time to be in Washington...especially if fighting your way onto a bursting-at-the-seams subway car isn't on the day's agenda.

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