I guess I’m going to be the first (of several, I hope) to share their Inauguration Day activities with you. Each member of Congress gets a limited number of tickets to distribute for inauguration. Members then hold an online lottery for their constituents. I applied for tickets from my Representative and from one of my Senators hoping I would get lucky on at least one front. Unfortunately, I did not win inauguration tickets! But I knew I could still go and watch from the public viewing area. I knew that I didn’t want to miss the inauguration, as it was the first since I’ve been in DC/at AU. I also knew that I didn’t want to wake up too early on inauguration morning. I also knew that I didn’t want to wait outside in the cold for hours upon hours. I also knew that I didn’t want to deal with the crowds on the Metro (DC’s subway system). So my roommate and I decided to leave around 8:00 am and take the N4 MetroBus down Massachusetts Ave from our apartment (a few blocks from campus) downtown. Because of the security downtown and the parade route, the bus was not able to take us all the way to its normal destination (Farragut Square) which is just a few blocks from the White House. Rather, the bus stopped just south of Dupont Circle leaving my roommate and I to walk the rest of the way to the National Mall for the swearing-in ceremony. When we got off the bus, we walked with crowds of other folks, who had just gotten off the Metro at the Dupont Circle, Farragut North, and Farragut West stations, down to the Mall. We walked down 18th St which left us to the west of the White House and west of the Washington Monument. Then, to get to the public viewing area of the swearing-in ceremony we had to walk down the Mall. There were many street vendors selling everything from t-shirts to buttons to lanyards and other goods. We continued walking past the CNN broadcast booth (set up on the Mall for their inauguration coverage) and past many fellow cold but excited folks. We ended up about 0.57 miles from the west front of the Capitol. (I measured on Google Earth, hahahaha!)
We arrived between 9 and 9:30 am. We could just see a mass of people at the Capitol but we had a great view of one of the jumbo screens set up on the Mall. The sun was up until about 10:00 when it decided to spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon behind the clouds dropping the temperature a little bit. My roommate and I just hung out and waited for the ceremony to start by taking it all in. Around 10:45, the PA announcer began to introduce the important folks seating on the constructed Capitol balcony (i.e. members of Congress, the Supreme Court, the President’s Cabinet, President Jimmy Carter, President Bill Clinton, Beyonce, and others). Shortly thereafter, around 11:30, the ceremony began. Vice President Biden was administered the oath of office by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Next, Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to President Barack Obama. The crowd went wild by waving the American flags that had been passed out earlier. Obama gave his inaugural address (which, if you haven’t already seen, I’m sure you can find it on YouTube)! Because it had already gotten cold, at least for our taste, my roommate and I decided to leave after the inaugural address. Don’t worry – we heard Kelly Clarkson’s rendition of “My Country, Tis of Thee” and Beyonce’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner over the loud speakers. We walked back to where the bus dropped us off and grabbed lunch at a small burger joint before heading back to our apartment where we watched the Inaugural Parade and the rest of the festivities. I guess that sums up my inauguration experiences. I’m sure other folks will chime in with stories from their inauguration day. I leave you with some pictures.