Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration day in Washington DC

Mostly, I spent the day in my cozy apartment, working on a spring semester course, answering emails and writing a recommendation.   When possible, I avoid both large crowds and cold weather.  Being ‘part of history’ electronically, was fine.  But throughout Washington and at American University, the electricity of this unique day in US history was in the air.  News coverage the local NPR news outlet, WAMU, was non-stop. I remember two interviews in particular.   A woman from New York was interviewed.  She was a Swedish citizen who had lived in the US for eight years.  “The election of Barak Obama has made me feel different about America,” she said.  “I never thought about becoming a citizen, but now I am going to apply.”  Another woman, an African American, shared sentiments that were expressed in different ways, by many.  “Barak Obama’s election means that, now, all of our children have a chance to succeed.”

When President Obama completed the oath of office with the words, “so help me God” a roar went up from the crowd and many people said they cried.  I was one of them.

In mid afternoon, I took my bicycle out for a brief shopping trip.  Cycling is an exception to my strictures against cold weather.  Students were streaming back from the metro and shuttle bus stops along Nebraska avenue, shivering but energized.  One young woman told me she had taken the metro to the mall at midnight, the night before.  Her early arrival secured a spot as close to the speechmaking as anyone could be who didn’t have a ticket.  Now she was “cold and very tired.”  “Was it worth it?, I asked.  Her response was identical to that of every student whom I queried about their experience.

“It was awesome!!”

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Anonymous Hao said...

since i am in dc, i would prefer to "be" there and "see" with my own eyes. my friends in china say i witness the history. but ten hours standing in the cold and poor arrangement on the mall are somehow disappointing...

1:21 PM  

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