On Sunday morning, I hopped a train to Washington D.C. to spend a few days with my best friend, Hilary, and to go to the Inauguration. I’d bought my train ticket in a frenzy on election night, and was headed down with zero expectations. I just felt I wanted to be there in some capacity for a lot of reasons. (I guess I’m outing myself as a liberal on my business blog, but something tells me you probably already knew that about me anyway. And I don’t intend to talk about politics, so fear not.)
We had intended to stand on The Mall, but at the very last minute – literally on Saturday morning – John’s amazing aunt was able to get us two tickets to stand in Union Square in front of the Capitol, which was truly incredible and something Hilary and I are so grateful for. We left her apartment in Arlington at 5:30am, miraculously came out of the Metro in Chinatown in front of an open Starbucks twenty minutes later, and by 6:15am we were in line for security to get into Union Square – coffee in hand (hallelujah). It took us a solid two hours to get through security, but that was less time than it took me to vote on election day, so that’s something.
And as an aside – I have nothing but compliments for the organization of the entire event. Everything ran incredibly smoothly. While the lines were long, they always kept moving, and everyone working the event – the soldiers and police officers – were so wonderful in every way: clear in their directions, and very helpful and kind. We had absolutely no problems coming or going – it could not have been easier. Well done handling a million people, Washington D.C.
We spent the few hours before the Inauguration began walking around our ticketed area, taking photographs of all the people there, and listening to the bands that were already playing by the time we arrived in Union Square at 8:15am. It was such a happy and light atmosphere – everyone was so friendly and laid back. We weren’t all crammed together like sardines. It was just fun and relaxed. And freeeeeezing, I might add, but we were well bundled.
And then the actual Inauguration began and everyone just went nuts with excitement. The air was just electric. I’ve never been a part of anything like it in my entire life. Hearing President Obama speak in person is something that I will never forget as long as I live – it was truly one of the most wonderful moments of my entire life. To hear him speak about marriage equality, equal pay for women, climate change… it felt like a new day. I just couldn’t stop from crying. It was absolutely worth waking up at 4:30am for, standing out in the freezing cold for, traveling from New York City for…
“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms…
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall…
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law… for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”