Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Great Relief

It usually doesn't take an hour to reach the Mall from my apartment. I also don't usually have to get there by way of D St SW and enter at 12th St. Despite the trek, my sister and I found ourselves in the thick of the crowd somewhere west of 7th Street, not too far from a jumbotron, surrounded by people having a truly great day. It would have warmed even JJV's heart to hear the enthusiastic responses the crowd gave to live video of the arrival of all the various players in the day's ceremony. Former President Bush and unindicted coconspirator fugitive former strongman 4th branch of government former vice-president Cheney were especially popular with attendees, moving some to raise their voices in song.

The proceedings were tolerable. It was great to hear Aretha Franklin live, a bit less thrilling to listen to Rick Warren live. I liked the fact that President Obama avoided soaring rhetoric for his speech, but spelled out very clearly some policies that were going to change. I was even able to see him clearly on the jumbotron as he delivered the speech, when the doofus in front of me stopped rocking his head to the right.

Security arrangements for the hoi polloi left something to be desired (I understand it was even worse for the ticketed non-VIPS). The throng followed the path of least resistance with striking amiability (except for me--it was a good day, but I have an image to maintain), particularly given the lack of direction from crowd control authorities. Apparently no individual was given the authority to say anything except "no." Absurdly, a National Guardsman attempted to tell a horde of tens of thousands that had managed to find one of the few exits off the Mall that they were not allowed to walk on Indendence Avenue, but had to stay on the sidewalks. They also excelled at creating unnecessary chokepoints.

The complaints are minor though, against the experience of being there, among that crowd, for such an amazing day.


EMM said...

It was an easy commute for me as well, I was prepared to walk to work (2 blocks from the White House) but was able to metro with very few delays. I did leave at 5:45 AM...the trek home after 8:00 PM was uneventful as well.

I was amazed at the dedication people had to stand/wait in the cold starting at 6:00 AM for a parade that started almost 9 hours later. I was posted inside our back foyer and could only take a few hours at a time (front lobby duty was better & much warmer).

I watched some of the days proceedings from my office and the swearing in and speech from the gorgeous lobby where I work. It was great to be (warm!) and with my co-workers, the best team ever!

For those of you who know my love of baseball & the Nationals, (Big Headed) Teddy Roosevelt made it to the lobby (nope, won't share any other VIP info) today!!! It was AWESOME, people were so excited. If we could not have Barak Obama up close and personal, at least we had Teddy.

God Bless America, Go Nationals!

EMM said...

Sorry, too tired to properly type...I do know how to spell Barack. Cheers!

jjv said...

What there was overwhelming security, I thought the choice between our freedom and our values was a false one? I'm glad you all had such a nice day.

Dave S. said...

Keep in mind that much of the last 8 years featured doofuses rocking their heads to the right...