Washington, DC. January 2009. Cold. Really really cold. Record-breaking cold. And yet, the entire city was in a, well, tizzy – the Inauguration was right around the corner. DC had been excited pretty much since the elections in November – DC votes strongly Democrat. The entire city was packed with visitors and tourists from all over. Traffic was a ginormous mess. Bars and restaurants were packed.
There were a number of events leading up to the Inauguration, the biggest public one being the “We are One” concert on the National Mall. And then, the actual Inauguration. We fortunately got two tickets to the Inauguration, otherwise we would have gathered in one of the sections open to the general public. If you wanted to stand along the parade route, you had to be in place by early morning. The temperature reached a high of 28 Fahrenheit (-2.2 Celsius), so those people were dedicated. Brrrr. We were so glad we were dressed warmly: tights, two pairs of socks, warm boots, layers and layers of clothes, hat and hoodie and gloves. And still we were freezing.
There were maps that showed where you cold cross the parade route or the Mall, and til when they were open. You had assigned entry gates and you could enter your section only through that gate. Security was high. The line was so long, we thought we wouldn’t make it in. All the various segments were blocked off from each other with gates and there were cops and security personnel everywhere. People were excited, and there was a great spirit of community.
Going to the Inauguration was a very special thing. It was a moment where all these people from various backgrounds came together to see democracy in action. Regardless of your political orientation, I think it’s important to take advantage of the opportunities to participate in these democratic elements of our society. So many people do not live in countries without democracy, and I think it’s important to take advantage of our rights and responsibilities as citizens. I am glad I had the opportunity to be able to attend this Inauguration.
Well, I no longer live in DC, and it just wasn’t possible for me to attend this year’s Inauguration. I’ve been feeling nostalgic while watching the coverage from the Inauguration. And then I saw this amazing photograph by Com. Chris Hadfield who is an astronaut currently on the ISS. He has been taking wonderful photographs down from the ISS, but this photograph of Washington D.C. on Saturday night of the Inaugural Weekend is my favorite. You can see the parade route, and you can even see Dulles airport in the distance. What an amazing photograph to give you some perspective. My photographs are nowhere as amazing, but here are my snapshots from the 2009 Inauguration.