I headed down to DC on Friday night. I stayed with a couple fabulous friends of mine (Kate and Kyle) that live in Silver Spring, Maryland. They showed me an amazing time in Baltimore and in DC, as well as shuffling me around to find a stupid microphone for my video camera (thanks to Stephanie too!). We pretty much just relaxed on Saturday and then Sunday headed up to the National Mall for the big concert. I came later than my friends, so meeting up with them became a problem. I ended up lost and asking this guy in a bright jacket to help me with directions.
It being DC it should've been no surprise that this man ended up being some Army big wig who has worked in the White House for years and is friends with the Bush's (I didn't hold that against him).
Well Sunday I get a call from God...I mean Travis, my volunteer team leader, who asks me if I still want to be an official inauguration volunteer. I said hells yes I do!!
I was so jazzed! I signed up online to volunteer weeks before and was sadly rejected by one of those blue "hope" emails. I was bummed at first, but decided to go down and enjoy the inauguration anyway. I'm sure glad I did, because I obviously did end up volunteering and it was a cold and amazing experience.
My friend Kyle also volunteered that morning so at about 3:30am after three or so hours of sleep we woke up to brave the cold and the crowds. Kyle may have forgotten to realize that the buses weren't running, so after 20 minutes in 28 degree weather we called a cab. I arrived at the National Mall, my volunteer post, at 5:30am and tried desperately to stay warm.
I met my team and they were a pretty cool and eclectic group of folks. Young, old, different races, different backgrounds, it was fabulous. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and happy to be there despite the temperature. We were stationed near a little pond of some sort and asked to direct people to the jumbotrons. It was freezing and we periodically had to go warm up in the basement of the Lincoln Memorial, but just to be a part of it all was an experience I will never forget.
I watched the inauguration from one of the many jumbotrons stationed around the reflecting pool and just smiled at the history I was witnessing. Say what you will about Obama's inexperience (Dad) or whatever else you have to say, but he has (whether deserved or not) inspired a huge amount of people. To see him walk down the stairs and take the oath did bring tears to my eyes, because I actually looked at a politician and trusted him with my country.
I have been criticized in the past for not being very patriotic, but over the last few years I have not really seen a reason to be proud of many of the things my country has done. I am however deeply grateful for the freedoms I have and I am appreciative for those that have fought for those freedoms, however I do not think a lot of what we do now in the world is protecting those freedoms. Anyway, I digress...
I am so grateful for all of the experiences I have had in my life. Seeing President Obama be inaugurated will definitely go down in my personal history book and until he does something real bad I will continue to be proud of him. I hope we, as citizens, are able to contribute and make his presidency one of the best our countries has seen. So do your part.
If I could play music in here I would play the Queen's song because even though it has nothing to do with America I always get the tune stuck in my head when I'm thinking about the president. You know the one...dun dun dundun dun dun
dundun dundun...sassy queen.