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A Baby Boomer's Witness to History Part II

While standing in a LONG LINE to get on the Metro (train) following the Inauguration, a man behind me said, “I can’t believe I drove all the way from Michigan to see the Inauguration on a TV screen.” He then smiled and added, “But it was worth every minute of it. I’m glad I was here!”

I echo those sentiments as a 51-year-old baby boomer who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with millions of others on the National Mall to witness history in the making. The swearing in of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States was nothing short of spectacular.

It didn’t matter that it was freezing cold or that I had to walk several miles to get to a spot where all I could see was a Jumbotron. Being crammed into a small space with strangers didn’t seem to stress anyone out. Instead it gave us an opportunity to mingle, to laugh and to make some new friends.

I’m still in awe of how one man could inspire so many people from around the world to come to Washington, DC to celebrate the day.

There were people in wheelchairs----mothers pushing babies in strollers and fathers carrying young ones on their shoulders. There were those who dressed to impress with their stylish mink coats, fur hats and Obama gear—while others looked like they hadn’t slept in a few days. Two young women told me they drove 40 hours straight from California to be there. A family from Louisiana braved the freezing cold for six hours while waiting to hopefully get a good spot and glimpse of our new Commander-in-Chief.

It was all a sight to behold---a moment in time. I clearly understood what the First Lady was saying when she said “For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” Of course, she was harshly criticized for her comments but for those of us who have felt disenfranchised---especially African American Baby Boomers----January 20 represented a day of reckoning.

Enjoy the slide show.


Karlyn said…
I think it's fantastic that you went there and got be a part of that historic day. I was at work and at 9 a.m., we got all the students together and watched Obama take the Presidential oath of office from a live feed off the internet. Even from where I was, it was so exciting and felt so good!
Rhea said…
I loved when Michelle Obama made that statement. Why SHOULD she be proud of this country? I think her critics are fools.
Kathy said…
The whole country is so excited, hopeful and energized right now so it must have been incredible to be right there at the center of it, freezing or not. Did you take Jarod? He's pretty little and I'd be worried about him in that crowd, but it would be great for him to say that he was there, even if he doesn't remember anything.

I've never even bothered to watch an inauguration before, but I was certainly glued to the tv on Tuesday. Fortunately we had a snow day so I didn't have to worry about any pesky interruptions, such as doing my job.
rosie said…
Your will remember this for the rest of your life. So glad you are documenting it!
Donna Cutting said…
How wonderful that you were there. I remember going to an Obama rally in Sarasota. The lines were so long...and yet, everyone was so peaceful, happy to be there, no complaining!

It's a great time to be an American!

Thanks for sharing your photos and your thoughts Beverly.
Beverly said…

As much as we wanted to take Jarod, we didn't because he had a cold and we knew it was going to be COLD in DC.

Despite the freezing temperatures and standing on my feet for several hours, it was one experience I wouldn't trade for all the Vanilla Chai tea in China!
Anonymous said…
I WAS THERE! HALLELUJAH! It was a marvelous event. I only wish I had my daughters and granddaughter with me. My husband and I will never forget that moment in history. The all-around mood was that of unity and brotherhood. A white sister and homegirl from the Bronx gave me a brand new pair of wool socks because my feet were cold and another couple gave me hand warmers. We all stepped on each other and bumped into each other but everyone was understanding about it and tried to make room for each other. I hope all of us who were there can continue in that same spirit.

Georgette Washington

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