We left at 5:30am and walked the mile or so to the Capitol. We had silver tickets and we had to take a roundabout way to get to the Silver Gate (how Narnian!), including a diversion through a tunnel. It was weird to see no vehicle traffic and only foot traffic - like we were refugees. After what felt like thirty minutes of walking we got to the end of the long line and waited. And then after all that waiting and lining up there was only a cursory inspection for security. One of the police officers said that he arrived at 2am and people started lining up at 4am. I could see why.
dcist.com's account was pretty accurate; I just have a few observations to add:
* we were saved by handwarmers
* there was a 30 second delay between video and audio which brought to mind, incongruously, badly-dubbed kung-fu movies
* it was hella cold
* people kept singing "Nah nah nah nah hey hey goodbye" and "Hit the Road, Jack" whenever Bush and/or Cheney appeared
* there was a young lady behind who kept pattering on and on with her commentary punctuated by cries of "Where my president? Where my president?"
* did I mention it was cold?
* MB was interviewed by local radio (Prince George's County) and a young man doing a documentary for his church
The tickets were a great souvenir, but in the end, the result was the same - standing for hours next to a jumbotron - regardless of tickets. And I was really cold. But it was worth it to say we were there and to share it with a million or so other privileged spectators.
ETA: Yes, I cried.
ETA: THANK YOU to all the security personnel (though they gave confused directions), Metro staff, vendors, cab drivers, jumbotron technicians, construction workers, cleaners, National Park Service rangers, museum staff, and everyone else who worked that day so that we could be a part of history.
We brought food, rain ponchos, emergency blankets, and water. I followed the 8x6x4 size restrictions and was bummed to see that everyone else had brought regular sized bags, including backpacks and messenger bags.
The Silver Gate was tantalizingly close - if it weren't for all the diversions.
One of the many photos I took of long lines.
Into the surreal 3rd St. tunnel.
The Capitol was a beacon.
Party faithful MoBob.
Sunrise at last.
We found a spot next to the first Jumbotron after the reflecting pool.
Not so far.
I wish we could've gone ice-skating.
MB talking with PGC radio.
I kept looking for you two in the crowd as well - like I could point you guys out among all the other bundled up people on the mall. Thanks for the picture of M on the Mall. I'm so happy that you both could share this historical moment.
On January 22nd, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Watching it on TV made me want to go see DC again. Not in the winter though. See all the monuments and stuff, walk the mall, take my wife who's never been. My kids will probably be bored. Can't believe it's been twelve years already. Glad you got to go!
http://tinyurl.com/8ntdkr has some overhead satellite photos of the scene, taken around 11 AM. Look at all the clustered ants.