If you were conscious today, it was hard to not notice that it was Inauguration Day.
I received several emails from colleagues in the DC area about what it was like to be in the nation’s capital.
Firstly, the logistics surrounding the day:
“Metro has set a record for the number of people it’s transported today and it’s not even evening yet. They closed all roads in and out of the city, so there’s no going anywhere! People who work in DC had to work from home today, because they shut down buildings around the White House.”
Secondly, the anticipation of the swearing in ceremony:
“Before the ceremony – helicopters constantly buzzed overhead; ambulances and police screamed down the eerily empty streets touching the Mall; emergency air boats boomed down the Potomac, street preachers hailed the word of ‘God’ through megaphones; groups of thousands raced together from point to point trying to gain access; armed soldiers blocked passageways randomly and acknowledged they didn’t know why they had to; attendees organized cheers and celebratory gauntlet runs; Jumbotrons blasted music and old Obama speeches; walls of people 1000s deep could be seen trying to press in from the streets on the periphery of the Mall.”
Finally, the emotion that Obama’s speech inspired in all of us, regardless of party lines. As one of my colleagues so poetically described it:
“I took photos, but they don’t do justice. It was like trying to photograph the ocean while treading water against giant waves.”
I twittered earlier today to try to capture the moment when I watched the speech on CNN Live. Most times, I enjoy watching an event via broadcast, from the comfort of my office or home.
However, today, as I looked at the bustle of the crowds, the helicopters in the distance and the shivering of the people in the audience, I was envious of the folks that had the opportunity to endure such inconveniences to experience this momentous occasion live.
Even from afar, I felt the inspiring call for us to rise up as individuals, come together as a community to deal with the dire challenges facing this nation. I just hope we all remember this day and the powerful emotion we all felt and the important tasks at hand, not letting news flashes of stumbles in the oath and the fashion of the presidential family distract us.