Sing-a-long in the Hay-Adams Bar: My Trip to the 2009 Inauguration
Jumbotron Photos During the Swearing-in

Vice President Joseph Biden Taking the Oath

I got within eyeshot of a Jumbotron just as Biden became our new Vice President.

Itzhak Perlman Performs

When the John Williams arrangement of "Simple Gifts" was being played, I walked over to the World War II Memorial. Somehow, I managed to get this photo of Itzhak Perlman.

The Crowd Near the World War II Memorial

The crowd near the World War II memorial.

I had a good view of President Obama's swearing-in. The PA was a little off at the beginning, so I didn't completely understand what had happened during Chief Justice Robert's giving of the oath gaffe. I took this photo and spent the next 30 seconds or so cheering.

President Barack Obama!!

President Obama's brother-in-law is in the top right-hand-corner of the photo.

President Barack Obama Gives His Inaugural Address

People started leaving as soon as the oath was done. A shame because the Inaugural Address was pretty good. President Obama politely skewered the Bush Administration during most of it, while re-iterating what was important to his incoming Administration.

I edged my way back towards 17th St., and as soon as President Obama (I like the ring of that!) was done speaking, I joined the exodus away from the Mall. I wound up walking through the bushes at the DAR Hall as the barricades were oddly located and I wasn't the only one to take that shortcut. 17th St., was crowded, so I walked over to 18th St. That, too, was pretty crowded and I wasn't seeing any restaurants (it was after 12:30, I'd been outside for almost four hours and I was cold and hungry). I remembered there were lots of restaurants near DuPont Circle, so I went over to 19th St. and continued northward.

As I was looking for lunch, I saw this van:

The Lost Passengers Van

There were literally thousands of chartered busses in Washington, bringing in people and groups from all over the place. Many people had never been to DC before, and may not have realized how to get back to their busses. While I'm sure cell phones helped, not everyone has a cell phone. So this looked like a pro-active way to help deal with lost visitors.

After seeing several restaurants, I chose Rumors, a place that had loads of TVs. As I sat at the bar, President Obama was escorting ex-President Bush to his helicopter.

"Give me a glass of champagne - Bush is leaving!" I told the bartender.

As I sat and ate and drank, the restaurant went from almost empty to almost full. It was pretty boisterous, too, as you might expect!

Warmed up, et.c., I considered going to the parade. But CNN was reporting that people were already lined up 10 deep along the parade route by 1:30 (the parade was due to start at about 2:30 (and wound up starting over an hour later)). While I'd thought about going to the parade, it sounded pretty hopeless, so I decided to go back to Silver Spring. I walked the rest of the way up to DuPont Circle. The Metro stop for the Red Line wasn't too busy and I got on a train quickly.

Many more people got on the train at Farragut North. A guy sat beside me and I asked him where he'd watched the Inauguration from.

"From in front of the Washington Monument."

"Wow. How could you see from there?"

"We got there early. We drove down from Philly last night, in the snow. We got here around 10 and parked over at Union Station. We walked around and ate, and then we slept in the car."

"You slept in the car?"

"Uh huh. It was only $20 to park for 24 hours."

"Wow. You had the cheapest place to stay in downtown DC."

"We got out about six this morning and got our spot. But we probably could have just stayed out all night."

He got off at Union Station with his son, and then a young woman sat beside me. We talked about turning our back on Rick Warren, so we know at least two people did that!

I walked back to Jeff and Rachel's from the Metro, and we spent most of the rest of the day watching local coverage of the parade. I left for the return trip to Pittsburgh a little after 6am Wednesday morning and got home a little before noon (some bad weather in the mountains again).

I'm so glad I went to DC. It was worth the cold and the long walks to be there for President Obama's swearing-in. While I spent a solid ten minutes crying happily after he won the election, all I could do during the Inaguration was smile. A cold but heartwarming time!

© 2009 Photos by Laurie D. T. Mann