The dinner table. We eat like this every night.
The 3:00 AM trip resulted in this ticket.The morning of Jan 20 was brutally cold. We had on so many layers, we looked like the love child of the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Woman and the Michelin Man. Since we had tickets, and the gates didn't open until 9, we didn't leave the house until shortly after 8 and walked the 10 blocks to Maryland Avenue and our appointed section. We were by the Reflecting Pool, just on the other side of the Ulysses S Grant statue (a suiting place, as during Grant's second Inauguration, in 1873, the temperature was a frigid 4 degrees with 40 mph wind gusts!). There's a subtle rise there, and since we were on the down side, we didn't have the best sight line, but could hear everything with crystal clarity.
The crowd was huge--immense. If were looked back towards the Lincoln Memorial, it was a sea of faces and little American flags. I haven't heard an official number, but I think a conservative estimate of 1.5-2 million would be fair.
The ceremony itself was relatively short, and there's three moments that really stand out in my head.
First, much has been made of the verbal stumble during the Oath of Office. As someone who has taken that Oath several times (it's basically the same as the oath for military officers), it's not easy---it's full of big words and they don't have a natural flow. Every time I've taken it (3 times), someone has messed it up. No big deal.
Second, I was amazed when Rick Warren, during the Invocation, started to recite the Lord's Prayer and everyone around us, en masse, joined in. If you were watching, there was really no indication what was about to happen (and the Lord's Prayer is not a traditional part of the ceremony), but the people quickly joined in. I'm sure there are many sociological conclusions that can be drawn from that, but it was very interesting.
Rick Warren leads the Inaugural Invocation.
Yo-Yo Ma and the Classical Crew.
After it was all over, we decided not to wait for the Parade. We knew there would be hundred of thousands of people in the Metro Stations downtown, so we walked the length of the Mall, crossed the Arlington Bridge and entered the Arlington Metro Station. This was a good idea, as it was virtually empty and we got on the first train. We metro'd home, and I was laying on the couch with the cat by 4:00.
A busy day with a tremendous amount of people, but I'm glad we went.
Stop by in February, as I have a couple of great posts in the works.
Here's some random photos of the day:
Thanks to those eyebrows, this man was very warm.
The end of a long day.
If you want to see one of the coolest photos of the day, click here. You can zoom in and out as you like--you can even play Find-A-Person. Can you find every living President, The Supreme Court Justices, Ted Kennedy, Aretha Franklin, Yo-Yo Ma, and if you are really good, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen.