There is so much to say about the inauguration. There is so much I want to make a point to mention. I think I will have to have 3 posts to explain the whole take on it and to say everything I would like to say. I will post some of my favorite photos from the event. Overall, a really great and important experience with a lot of Historical value. I ended up going by myself, which turned out to be pretty great. I think I took a lot more in and lead myself to all the places I wanted to be at the moment I wanted to be there. Along the way I found myself taking pictures of people in their groups, so they could all be in it together. In return a few of them were able to do the same for me.
I took around 600-700 pictures and video of the event and there is no way for me to explain it all here. If you have any questions or want any of the pictures from the event, please send me an email and I will forward you some(firstname.lastname@example.org). I will also be posting some onto my picasa web album and the slideshow in the sidebar. You are more than welcome to look at them and to keep some for yourself....I am not one of those peeps that will charge you for wanting something special, I do request you do not sell the images yourself or use them to make a profit. Just send me an email if you aren't sure about its use. With that said, Read my journey to the Inauguration:
I Started out my trek early in the morning in 16degree weather which turned into 12degrees along the way! Ouch! Actually I decided to leave at 1 am and drive from Pittsburgh to Shady Grove, Maryland. The drive is about 4 1/2 hours long and is a pretty direct and simple drive. I got to Shady Grove Metro Station and Rode into the Capital. They were selling all day passes for the metro for $10.00. The tickets themselves were special Barack Obama Inauguration passes....Souvenirs I think (I didn't take a picture of the ticket so I will have to make a point to do that later.)
This is the crowd at the Metro Station at 5:45am.
The crowds at this station were already enormous. I got into the station at 5 am and waited to park for 30 minutes. There were a few cars that "cut in line", but for the most part it was pretty organized in how they lead people into the parking lots and onto the platforms. I think the metro is a pretty good transit system and is very similar to the BART station in San Fransisco, Ca.
This is the first image I had of the national monuments. It was a beautiful day and the people were all walking toward something wonderful. You can see the Washington Monument ahead of us. It was probably about 1 mile away. I find myself with some tears in my eyes from the magic of it all.
The really fantastic moment was when I got off the Metro with all those people. we walked for about 30 minutes to the "Washington Mall". For those of you who have not yet gone to the Nations Capitol it is a really great set up. On one end of the long Rectangle of a Mall is the State Capital. On the other is the Lincoln Memorial. The distance is 2 miles from end to end. You can see very clearly from the Lincoln Memorial all the way to the Capital Bldg. In the Center of the long Mall is the Washington Monument(this is the tall obelisk or tower Monument). from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Memorial is the Reflecting Pool where Martin Luther King Jr. Made his famous speech. The Mall is surrounded on both sides with many more memorials and with The Smithsonian Museum. It was really incredible to take it all in.
This is in the mall looking toward the Capital. The JumboTrons are the Viewing screens that people got to watch the event on, and they had loud speakers throughout so everyone could see and hear it happening. It is also one of my favorite images that include the Capital, the people and Lincolns image on the JumboTron looking back at us.
When I first arrived I thought I would find a good place to watch the Inauguration on one of the large screens. I found a good place at the front of the "no-ticket" section. When I was as far as I could go, I began to make myself comfortable, then realized it was still only around 8:30am and Pres. Elect Barack Obama was not going to be speaking for another 3 hours. It was too long to stay put and I found the crowds were making it pretty claustrophobic and started making it to a perimeter. I was walking so fast trying to move away from the "lock down" of people that I ran right into Samuel L. Jackson! Literally! I ran into him. He and I said excuse me and continued on our way....then I realized he was someone recognizable and went back. I asked if he were Samuel Jackson and his Posse said it was a bad time to talk. He was on the phone and apparently he was denied access to the "ticket section" because he went the wrong way. The MP (Military Police) would not let him cross the road to get to the "ticket section" It would probably be about a 4-5 mile walk around the perimeter of the lock down to get to the right entrance for him, if that was even a possibility. I don't know if he made it, I hope so. I hope it did not ruin the whole of the event for him if he couldn't get in. It was crazy though, because as he was standing there figuring out his situation while they had been airing the recording from the concert on Sunday in which he had made a speech. So there he was on the JumboTrons and also in the crowd. There were many people taking his picture while he was in his little moment of drama. I felt kind of bad (I don't like the idea of taking pictures of people.....................but this was different) So,......I took his picture also to record the memory of it all as part of my Inaugural Memory Book (Sorry Mr. Jackson)there are 2 more, but didn't want to put all of them up:
This is one of the pictures that just barely tells the story of the massive amounts of people all converging in the area. All I kept saying to myself was "Wowwwww" and **Sighhhhh**. At this moment I am nearer the Washington Memorial looking toward the Capital.
They said that there was about 2 million people in Washington for this Event. In the National Mall I estimate there was a little over a million at "the moment" he became our 44th president. The rest were on the streets, lining up on the Parade route. The parade wasn't till much later when I took my picture, but they had already crowded the streets around 9am.
This was the steps of Lincoln Memorial looking toward the Nations Capital. They did not have a JumboTron to view from here, but you could see the people and here the address being spoken through some of the nearby speakers.
I can sum it up to three parts: The People, The Memorials, and the Historic Value.
My Favorite Memorial was the Lincoln Memorial. The feeling to be in such a place that is so important while being there for a very important moment in History is unexplainable. This moment will be a part of the history books and those that were there will be recorded as being a part of it.
In my generation there has not really been that event that called to so many people to attend and be a part of. It is our I have a dream, our Woodstock and our Inauguration speech of JFK. There will not be anything to compare it to during my lifetime. It is truly the transition of America. There will be a place in my heart that keeps this moment close. I will tell this story for the rest of my life and I will share the pictures and the stories with friends and family, but the enormity of it all can not be explained although I am sure I will try to recreate it much in my life.