Steven's Notebook

Look Ma - No Hands!

Inauguration Day

I remember being on The National Mall in Washington D.C. as a 15 year old in Oct 1979. It was just me, my camera and thousands upon thousands thousands of people packed onto The Mall to attend Pope John Paul II’s Mass.

It was crowded and chaotic, I couldn’t see much and what I was able to see of the actual event was tiny and far-away. But I was there, and I remember.

Mall in Wash DC, 1991

I remember being on The Mall with my wife, with our then-young sons in a stroller, at the welcome-home end-of-Gulf-War celebration with thousands upon thousands thousands of people in 1991.

Hilary, James and Two Soldiers. Wash DC 1991

Traveling with the stroller only made navigating the crows even harder, but we managed, we had fun, and we remember being there for a small part of history.

I can only imagine what The Mall will be like today for the inauguration of Barack Obama as the next President of the United States; the people, pageantry, celebrations and emotions — it will be quite an event.

Yes, it’ll be extremely crowded. As my father put it, “the Washington Zoo is expanding it’s boundaries.” The weather will be cold, the security checkpoints will be difficult and the lines will be long. For those who choose to brave the elements and the difficulties, though, the day will be well worth the hassles and it will be a day they remember for the rest of their lives.

Washington Mall on Inauguration Day 2009

If I were within 150 miles, you couldn’t keep me away with a big stick. Unfortunately that’s not the case, so I will have to rely on YouTube like the rest of the country. But I will remember.

1 Comment

  1. Steven,

    On Monday night, I stayed with a friend who lives in Arlington and in the morning, I walked from his apartment to Iwo Jima Memorial, then past Arlington National Cemetary, then across Memorial Bridge onto the Mall.

    In the preceding days, I was disappointed that my attempts to get DC-area friends to join me went fruitless.

    But by Tuesday, as I set out, I realized that it was invigorating — literally liberating — to be making this trek on foot and solo.

    And when President Obama finished his elegant, inspiring speech, my toes were numb, but I felt far from alone.

    I’ll write a longer version of this soon and share, but your post prompted me to respond now.


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