Last week I was lucky enough to attend President Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration. The original plan was for a small group of us to meet bright and early (read: 5:00am!) in Farragut and walk to an un-ticketed entrance. However, my fiancé’s roommate was able to get us green tickets at the last second the night before so we felt we could meet slightly less early. Even so, the crowds were more massive than I could have ever imagined. We waited in huge lines and were then crammed into the green ticket area where we stood to wait for hours. The worst part of the day was the feeling that I might not be able to take a deep breath because of the amount of people that were pushing on me from all sides. I have never felt so claustrophobic! Naturally we also ended up beside the crazy protestor who scaled a tree and shouted about abortion the ENTIRE TIME. Our only consolation prize was that after the celebration he was arrested and banned from ever coming back to DC. In the time leading up to the actual event we got to see celebrities filter in, including Kerry Washington and Wilmer Valderama, which was exciting. The best part of the day was the president’s actual speech, which I found to be very inspiring and thought provoking- I include one of my favorite excerpts below. Luckily my roommate and I were able to slip out after the speech, but before the concert, and miss most all the crazy traffic on our trip back to Williamsburg. It was a long, eventful day full of ups and downs, but I am glad to reflect back on it and know that I participated in a part of history.
“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. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.” –Barack Obama, 2013 Inauguration