After two fantastic days, it was time for the biggest day of them all - the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States: Barack Obama! We were pretty exhausted from all the stuff going on so we decided to watch the swearing in on TV and then head out for the parade. (I almost feel guilty saying that, since so many people traveled from far away to attend and be present - but it was extremely cold and I don't deal well with the cold.)
It was fabulous to watch everything on TV and seeing all the exuberant faces. It was neat to see all the former presidents and all the other famous people arriving. The best, of course, was seeing the Obama family arrive. Sasha looked so excited! Watching Obama arrive, all by himself, clearly feeling the solemnity of the situation, was very powerful.
Shortly before 1pm we headed out to the parade route. Lots of people were walking in the opposite direction, having left the National Mall. It was relatively easy to get to the route but we were not allowed inside the security. We found a decent place to watch on 6th Street. In retrospect, we could have gone closer to the White House - since the parade was so late, lots of people left the security zone and we could have gotten in, but we had no idea of knowing that!
The day was frigid and nothing seemed to happen - little did we know that Senator Ted Kennedy's collapse had made the parade about an hour late. We started realizing that the parade was going to be just as cold as the swearing in itself! At one point we ducked into a nearby Au Bon Pain (bakery/cafe chain) for some hot soup. It felt GOOD! We went back outside and watched the parade for a while, until it got just too cold. Walking back felt great; it's the standing around that gets so cold.
Maybe we should have gone outside for the swearing in ceremony instead, but in general I was happy with the decision - hours and hours waiting on the Mall would have been soooo cold! It was a momentous and amazing day in any case and I felt honored to be here in the US capital for such an important day.