We begin the inauguration march, prepared to defend Obama against any last minute tricks by the nefarious Bush-Cheney duo. Edward sports his old SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) button that he wore at the 1963 March on Washington. Throughout the day, people noticed this button and commented enthusiastically upon it; many had questions for him!
We had silver tickets, and we dutifully followed the signs pointing us to the silver area. The crowds thickened. I started to wonder why we didn’t see any cops, except for one in a vehicle who tried to plow his way through the crowd. We ended up at this spot, so crowded that at times, I couldn’t even lift my hands to snap photos. It was the most claustrophobic scenario I’ve ever experienced in my life. What made it tolerable was how happy everyone was, and how well-behaved. Also, we had thought ahead and packed our clothes with juice, granola bars, fruit, and cookies. That helped. We stood in this exact same spot for almost two hours.
We were being held back by some sort of officials. It was frustrating, because we could see, less than 50 feet away, some very tempting open space. It didn’t make sense to any of us why we were being held back, but we were obedient. FInally, someone on a bullhorn told us we were about to be released, and that we should be prepared to show our tickets and go through security. Ah yes, security. We had been told in advance that we would be frisked, ID’d and possibly go through metal detectors. But when we were released, there was not a single law enforcement person to be found. Nothing. No one. Everyone sprinted toward the Capitol. We collectively knocked down fences and barriers, flattening them. No one there to ask for tickets or to clear us in any way shape or form, just delightful chaos. Actually, I was a bit worried when the running started. It seemed like a recipe for disaster. But this was such a happy crowd that no one got hurt. People hopped up onto the portapotties, onto poles, and climbed into trees. The spot where we ended up was quite comfortable compared to the previous one. You could actually take a couple of steps in either direction and move your arms. This was where we stood when the magical moment came.
We weren’t that close, and it was hard even to see the jumbotron, but we could hear perfectly well. I cried my eyes out in the moments after he was sworn in. A lot of other people were crying, too.