“What would you tell your grandchildren?” someone on the Metro into the Washington, D.C. area asked yesterday. I thought that was thinking too far ahead, but now, as I am at work a day after the inauguration, I’m ready to tell anyone my story.
Even though the day was spent being herded like cattle in the cold – full of people fainting left and right – and we only saw President Obama on a Jumbo-tron that had a tree in the way, I can say that it was a unique and profound experience that would not have been the same as just watching it on TV.
To be among so many different people and share all that was happening in the country’s capital was really profound. Even though we were all strangers, people talked to one another as if they were friends. Throughout the ceremony and speeches there was commentary and conversation. We were one, more so by being physically squished against each other, but one nonetheless.
People booed and cheered, laughed and cried – not from emotion as far as I know; for me it was just the cold that made me tear. There was an excitement and anticipation for the time Obama would make his acceptance speech. When he did, people listened and hung on his every word. There was an understanding that this man was not the key to the future, but merely someone who could impact it greatly and convince others to act.
When I look at the coverage on TV and read about it in the papers I can say that I was there. I may not have been sitting among the senators or with CNN in the press box, but I was there with people who wouldn’t let anything – not the distance, nor the time or the fact that they didn’t have inaugural tickets – stop them from coming to Washington, D.C. and doing their best to be as close to history-in-the-making as possible.