I was determined to make it to the swearing in today to experience history first hand. All of us who made it to Capitol Hill were truly devoted to being there. The day was chilly with an occasional cold wind. Although I had a ticket for a seat, I still was up at 7 a.m. and left the hotel at 8:30 a.m. It was a good thing I left that early because it took 2 hours to finally get to my seat. The Presidential Inauguration Committee volunteers and the police were not completely informed regarding the various entrances to ticketed seats. I was led in the wrong direction numerous times and taken an hour out of my way. If it wasn't for the knowledge that this was a truly historical moment, I would have given up to return to the hotel and watch the fanfare in warmth, with food and a real restroom at hand. Yet, I made it to the ceremony and wasn't disappointed.
I know it was all on television but to see the huge amount of people spread out everywhere you looked was truly amazing. The crowd was well mannered and completely still and respectful when the speakers were on stage (except when President George W. Bush was introduced). Granted, there were the "Down in front." shouts when people were standing in the ticketed area but no one really had a close up view. The huge video screens were the only way to see the faces of everyone up on the stage.
An incredible spirit of celebration was in the air. From the street vendors selling everything Obama imaginable to the throngs of people getting off the buses, smiles were on everyone's face (even the little babies seen here and there).
It was just a joy to listen to President Obama's speech. It is inspiring to have an eloquent president again. Although my toes were frozen (those darn foot warmers didn't work) and my cheeks were bright red, it was worth every minute and every shiver. I left before the speech was completely over, determined to get a cab and back to the hotel before the throngs of thousands cascaded out of the area.
I'm pretty exhausted right now and hope this Naked All Natural Energy drink kicks in so I can get ready for the Midwest States Ball. Tonight at the Mayflower Hotel, the Humanitarian Ball is being held. I hope to crash it and see Cyndi Lauper perform. There isn't much food at these balls and the restaurant is packed. Ex NFL player Jim Brown is here and creating quite a buzz among any sport fan on site. VP Biden's family is staying here as are many media celebs. One more night of fun and then I drive back to Ytown to my mommy life. It has been fun but I can't make it more than 4 or 5 hours without calling home and talking to my daughter.