For our family, inauguration day started at 5:15 a.m. when I woke Robert. Of course, that was pretty late by most standards. My sister's day started at 3:45 a.m.! That may sound absurdly early, but the metro began running at 4 a.m., and the security gates to the Capitol opened at 8 a.m., and if you weren't inside the ticketed area by 11:30, you would not be allowed in. We left the hotel room at 5:45, and although the metro station was only 20 minutes away, we didn't get there until 7:15! The traffic was that bad! And even then, I had to drop Robert and his dad off about a block away! This would probably be a good time to clarify the fact that I didn't actually go to the inauguration. Out of the six tickets that we obtained, not a single one was for me as I opted to stay at the hotel with the girls. Yes, I know, what madness! But the truth is that I was perfectly happy watching it on television. When they finally got into the station, it was madness! People everywhere! The line was a mile long! They couldn't even get on a train until 8:45! By this point, I was starting to wonder if they were even going to make it, and Robert and his dad didn't even think they were going to. On the other hand, by 8:45, my sister was already in the ticketed section. Now I'm going to let Robert take over the rest of this blog because he's the one that actually lived it.
Once we finally got on the train, we thought we were finally getting somewhere. But even the train kept getting stuck in train traffic. Once we finally got out of the metro, we still had to walk four blocks to get where we were supposed to be. They had closed the metro station that we were supposed to get off at. Now you imagine trying to weave your way through this crowd. When we finally got to where we could see the security gate, we realized there was no way we were going to get through that crowd. It wasn't even moving! The street was completely filled with people, and they weren't going anywhere. At this point, we pretty much gave up on even trying to get into the ticketed section.There is the silver gate that we were trying to get to surrounded by a sea of people!Instead, we opted to just find some way to get to the mall where there would be a jumbo-tron. We figured we had already come this far, and if we didn't find a t.v. we were gonna miss it altogether. It was already 10 o'clock! So we turned around and had to take the long about way to the mall because so many streets were closed. So then three blocks away, we cut through the line for the silver gate (the line we were supposed to be in) into a little alley and we finally got into the opening where a policeman pointed us in the direction of a back way into the silver gate! A moving line and a miracle! (some of Crystal's luck...she should play the lotto) We ended up making it through security (which wasn't as secure as you would think. . . there weren't even metal detectors), and into the ticketed area. Time: 10:45 a.m.! We actually made it!
All day, throughout all the lines, everybody was so nice and friendly. The same goes for where we ended up standing. There was laughing and joking, everybody was happy and talking. But boy it was a tough crowd! When George W. Bush came out, everybody started "booing"! Imagine, 1.8 million people all booing at the same time! Then imagine them all singing "Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey...GOODBYE!!" (They edited that from CNN, the perks of being there live :-) Everybody loved Aretha Franklin, nobody loved Yo-Yo Mama (yeah, that's what they called him.) And then the moment we had all been waiting for, the moment that I had driven through treacherous ice and snow for, the moment that I was standing sandwiched (and I mean they were pushing up against me) in my one foot square space for -- the swearing in! We didn't even care that he fumbled through it, we were just waiting for "so help me God." For all the noise made when Bush and Clinton came out, and when Aretha was singing, you could've heard a mouse fart when Obama was speaking. Nobody wanted to miss a single word spoken by our new president. I was there! I was a part of history!
Then he said "God bless America" and we hightailed it out of there. We suddenly remembered we were cold and hungry! Unfortunately we weren't the only people feeling that way. We beat most of them to the deli with the $7 per pound buffet line. But they forced us to walk 13 city blocks to find a metro station that wasn't already jam packed. Here's a picture of everyone behind us also trying to catch a metro!
Okay, now Robert's done. They really seemed to have a good time. When I went to pick them up from the metro, they were full of stories and excitement. I guess it's easy to get caught up in the spirit. . . kind of like Time's Square on New Year's Eve. Unfortunately, we didn't attend any inaugural balls. However, Robert is already talking about going again in four years. I guess it could be a new sort of tradition for us :-) Next time, we'll know what to expect and plan a little bit better. . . and maybe get some tickets to a ball or two (and a sitter). See you in D.C. in four years?