My trip began on Monday. My husband and I left around noon from the big airport headed to Baltimore. My flight was packed! It was obvious most of the people were headed to the inauguration. Most of the passengers were decked out in Obama t-shirts, hats and scarves. The mood was very excited as people talked about what balls they would be attending and where they would watch the inauguration events. Once we landed, I drove 45 minutes to Fairfax, Virginia where my mother lives and where I would spend the night.
Tuesday morning I got up at 5:30!! Not that early, but considering I only had two hours of sleep - it was a little hard getting out of the bed. The temperature - according to my I-pod read 18 degrees! Needless to say, I threw on several layers of clothes, including two thermal shirts and leggings! I also had a pack of hand, toe and body warmers just in case! We headed to the Metro transit station - which is only about five minutes away. The line to get into the station was out the door! Luckily it went fairly fast and in no time we were on the train. We boarded with thousands of others - we were packed in the car like sardines! We didn't have seats - so we stood for two and half hours until we made it into downtown D.C. Even though the ride was long and hot (since we had all those layers on) everyone was in good spirits. We passed the time sharing stories about where we were from and what we all hoped to see! We ended up getting tickets into the inauguration at the last minute, so we had to meet our contact in DC to get the tickets. We ended up waiting about three hours to get the tickets. We rushed to the "yellow" gate and the line was around the corner. Again, we got lucky and were able to cut the line. When we finally got through security, police officers closed the gate because the event had just started. Once again, we had luck on our side. They ended up letting us through, but unfortunately we were the last group to get in. So, even though some people had tickets - it didn't mean you weren't guaranteed to get in.
Facing the Capital, we were in a standing area just to the right. We had a great view of the podium. There was also a jumbo screen so we could get a closer view of the entire event. As the crowd grew anxious to see President Obama, they began chanting - "fired up and ready to go," and "Obama, Obama!" When President Obama took the oath and began his speech - the crowd was so quite you could have heard a pin drop! Even though it was cold outside and the crowds made getting around extremely difficult, the sentiment from pretty much everyone was - we are witnessing history; it's all worth it.
After the inauguration, we went to a reception at a friend's office. From the building you could see the parade route. We stayed long enough to eat and warm up and then headed for the Metro to go home. That trip was much easier and faster - though I still had to stand the entire way home! I think I'm still a little overwhelmed by the day - it's still kind of unbelievable that I was actually there (and so close) to witness this historical event.