Even with an arctic chill in the air, Washington DC has been a flurry of Presidential Inauguration preparation. American flags hang from buildings, bleacher stands line Pennsylvania Avenue and the parade route, and rows of porda-potties litter the National Mall. Early estimates anticipated 2-4 million people descending on the District for this historic swearing in and the city has been gearing up for it ever since.
The excitement jumped off on Election night with dancing in the streets and instant bonds of camaraderie. As I watched the results pour in off of U Street in Washington DC, I heard cars begin blaring their horns and people shouting. The feeling was crazy, hard to even describe. I truly felt like an American and proud to be one. The electric air was contagious, and after the speeches, we had to go out and see what was going on. Have you seen news reports or you tube videos from U Street? (For example, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpTvkYBxa3Q). Streets were shut down as people congregated in the middle of intersections.
The metro was closed by that time and cabs were hard to come by, so we decided to walk. Why not see how far we could make it and check out the scene at the White House? Along our walk, people were hugging and giving high fives to complete strangers. No one was in a hurry and we joined a chorus of voices and car horns chanting "Yes We Can." The White House did not disappoint. Newsreporters interviewed excited Obama supporters and American flags were being held with pride.
With the Inauguration just a few days away, Obama has arrived in Washington DC and the festivities have begun. Bars are able to stay open until 4 am, street vendors offering Obama merchandise are out in full force, and excited supporters have arrived. Some of my friends can't wait to get out of the city and plan to stay away at all cost. Although Metro is running rush hour service, trying to get anywhere is going to be a challenge, to say the least. Others, like myself, are preparing to brave the weather for multiple hours (32 degrees in DC is cold!) and witness an amazing moment in history.