President Obama

We got back from the inauguration trip yesterday. It was intense, both emotionally at the event, and travel wise. We were there and back again in 3.5 days. I apologize in advance for the unusually serious and verbose nature of this post. It's not something I can be silly about.

The inauguration was great, even if we didn't get in. We knew there would be mad security all over, but we didn't realize the entire mall would be fenced in. The jumbotrons were inside the fence. So we just wandered around and soaked up the energy of the crowd. There were still thousands of people around. Or maybe hundreds of thousands. Every break between the buildings had a mass of people standing around, trying to see, or at least hear, the history.

Line to get in, while the speech was in progress

Even though everybody outside of the fence was antsy about getting in, or not, the general mood of the crowd was still high. Every place with a tv or radio was packed. We listened to the speech on a police cruiser's radio. The police officers had blocked off the street with their car, and were there to keep the peace at the end of the line to get into the mall. Even though they were on duty they needed to hear the speech as much as anybody. So they threw open the doors and trunk of the cruiser and cranked it on the radio. When it was done we had to wait our turn to thank them.

Radio Car

This event meant a lot to me. I love my country and I'm happy to have hope for its future, but I'm just a white guy. There were so many people in that crowd for whom this meant so much more; African Americans who lived through the civil rights movement of the 60s, who still live with the sometimes subtle, sometimes overt racism that exists all across America even now. The inauguration of President Obama is proof that all the years of pain and effort were not in vain. The struggle isn't over, but it's working. Anything is possible now. Standing there, listening to the speech with that crowd, you could feel the possibilities, the hope, the joy. To be a part of that moment was an honor and a privilege.

Walking back, after the speech was over, we came across national guard guys stationed at street corners around the neighborhood. They laughed and joked with us as we passed, obviously as happy as we were to have a President Obama. We stopped for coffee and found a party. It's the first time my americano came with free champagne. What a great day.

Thanks to Calvo for letting us crash at his place, and sorry I'm such annoyingly snorey house guest!

More photos in rakka and my flickr sets.

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