Sunday, January 25, 2009

BLUE GATE BLUES

Inauguration 2009
My brother Jared flew into town a week ago to stay with us and attend the inauguration. Yes, he was one of the "lucky" ones and got 4 tickets through Senator Bennett's office. He gave one to me, one to my cousin Ryan who worked on Obama's campaign, and one to his friend Francis who currently attends Dixie State College but originally hails from northern Virginia. Jeremy volunteered to stay home with Tennyson and also babysat another boy from our ward so his parents could attend the inauguration. In the end, I think Jeremy got the good end of the deal.
Jared and I started the week by going downtown and checking out all the festivities.

We ate lunch at Eat First in Chinatown. It was fun to see my brother in my uber-urban environment.
Jared is the one near the center in the white hat. I had to get Obama on the jumbotron.
It was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and was a day of service.
Jared and the Prez.
Jared and me in front of the Treasury.
Jared standing near where the parade ended. The large white structure to the left is where Obama and his family sat.
Jared with the Washington Monument sticking out of his head.
Me on the mall, jumbotrons and all.
Now this is a great story. Sen. Bennett's office had many silver tickets left over. I guess there were not that many travelers from Utah who wanted to see the inauguration. So Bennett's office just started giving them away. Word got out and there was a huge crowd at their office. The tickets were gone in a matter of minutes. I was proud of them for being so practical about it.
INAUGURATION DAY 2009

We got to the blue gate area around 8 am. There were huge crowds and no one telling us where to go. Thousands of people were either wandering, or standing in a random line. We found what we thought was the line and waited. And waited. And waited. For HOURS, this is all I saw.
But I got to see a lot of great hats.
As time passed people started to realize that there was a chance that even though they had tickets, they were not going to witness the history they thought they would. Instead of witnessing the swearing-in ceremony of our first black president, we became witnesses and victims of Blue Gate. It was beyond dissappointing. The only thing that kept everyone from going raving mad at the situation was that in the back of everyone's mind was the fear of being trampled. The crowds were so huge, and so tight, that one wrong word could act like a spark to a powder keg. So we waited, patiently, in our pathetic, self-made lines that led nowhere. Eventually the ceremony began and we could not see or hear anything. So we improvised...
We listened on cell phones. This was the method of choice for Jared, Francis and me. We called my dad and he set his phone next to his TV. It was pathetic but all we had.
These lucky folks had a radio. In the end it was still amazing to be there. I could only gauge what was happening by the reaction of the crowds around me. So when everyone started crying, I realized Obama was president and then I started crying too.
Francis cried too. But not out of joy. Her dissappointment went way beyond mine for several reasons. One of which was the fact that she made significant sacrifices in money, and school work to be here. I walked a mile from my house.
We took pictures in front of the Capitol to make ourselves feel better.
And it helped.
On our way to the parade route we stopped on East Capitol Street and said good-bye to Bush.
Then we got to the parade route. The police would not let us through the barricades so we bi-passed them by going through the Russell Senate Office Building and coming out on the corner by where the parade started. People were everywhere and looking for the best seats they could.
On shoulders...
On lamp posts...
On railings...
We saw famous people and their ambulances. And that kind of made up for the fact that we missed the inauguration. This is Kennedy's ambulance. You may have to click on some of these pictures to really see them well.
Here is President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosslyn.
This is Cornell West. Francis got an interview with him. It was an important day for people . . .
and their hair.
and their dogs.
Finally! The parade started.
And he appeared! Yes we got to see Obama and Malia.
And you can see Sasha too.
Here is Biden.
On our way back through the Russell Senate Office Building I saw some things that made me think. One thing, is who on earth made these women work that day? They ought to be ashamed of themselves. I've just waved to Obama on the street and I come inside and these women are cleaning the building. Are you kidding me? I think that that is just plain wrong. And yet, they had such great attitudes!
The greatest irony of the day was the office I passed on my way out.

4 comments:

Anne said...

Suzanne! What a great recap of an amazing day. I'm sorry that you guys were victims of the blue gate scandal, that sucks. Looks like you guys made the most out of it though.

I met your Sunbeams co-teacher Rose yesterday. She's darling.

We really should get together one of these days. It's been far too long.

Katie said...

Wow!! That was the coolest post ever. I'm sorry that you guys had to endure that - but it makes a great story right? right? ok, maybe it just sucks. but you guys are going down in history anyway. i just feel bad for your brother and his friend that came all the way there. it was such a historical day huh? luke and watched it and totally turned up the volume cause we're just crazy like that.

Hillary said...

It's funny how I purposely booked my ticket home on the 19th so I'd be long gone before the 20th :)

And when we were at the mall on the 18th, we were there long enough to take six photos, see Anderson Cooper and leave. So in other words, we were there ten minutes just to prove I had been to DC.

I'm still bummed I didn't get to see you, but am glad I caught you over the Christmas break. It was a treat to spend time with you and Tenny. Xoxo!

Snowbunny in the City said...

GREAT PICS!!

:)