|National Mall getting ready for the Big Day|
Yesterday our President, my boss' boss' boss times about 10, was sworn in for the 4th time (2 times in public and 2 times in private ceremonies for those keeping track). In 2009 I hadn't yet moved out to DC, so this was my first inaugural experience. Instead of standing on the National Mall for hours in the cold, I decided to experience the event from the inside out and be a volunteer. And I wasn't the only one, as it turns out the Inauguration happens thanks to the hard work of thousands of folks who come from all over the country to see their president sworn-in and celebrated.
So I put my name into the online Inaugural Committee hat and by some stroke of luck was given one of the coolest jobs ever. I was asked to be a Parade Unit Host, which means I got to be a liaison for one of the groups in the parade and walk along the entire parade route with them! It was definitely as awesome as it sounds (see video at the very bottom)!
The wake-up call, however, was less awesome. I woke up at 4am to join the masses on the metro and made my way to the Pentagon to get ready for the day and to meet the group I'd be helping. There I found out that I'd be walking with the Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps from Des Moines, IA. I didn't know much about the group beforehand, but learned that they became a personal favorite of the Obamas during their many Iowa trips over the years, and had marched in the 2009 Inaugural Parade in addition to visiting the White House. They also do great work for their community and have received a number of service-oriented awards. This explained our placement in the parade at 4th from the beginning.
|Line of buses getting to the Mall|
|Military Units lining up for parade|
After meeting and then spending the early morning with the Isiserettes at the Pentagon, I traveled with them to the staging location on the Mall. I was so excited to just be along for the ride, since it was clear that this group, little kids included, were true professionals and didn't need any extra help. We got to the Mall early enough to see the entire Inaugural Ceremony from the comfort of a heated tent just behind the crowd of a million (see picture below - I'm sitting on a chair in that massive tent sipping hot cocoa and watching a huge TV screen with quality sound).
|(Aerial View of Mall - Source: Breitbart.com)|
|Hanging with the Isiserettes watching the Ceremony|
We spent most of the day waiting and lining up in parade order. But once the President finished his lunch on the hill and made his way to the White House, it was go time! The kids were so excited (myself included) that the chill didn't matter at all. [That being said, I'm very glad that today's frigid wind waited a day.] Once we turned that corner onto Pennsylvania it was pure amazingness. The street was lined with thousands of excited people and the Isiserettes drummed and danced their hearts out as the crowds cheered them on. I was merely an observer walking behind, but what a view! A friend of mine who was tailgating at the Canadian Embassy saw go by and sent me a picture, so I'm glad to have proof of what was a pretty unbelievable experience.
After what felt like a very short 1.5 miles we turned onto Lafayette Square to march in front the Presidential viewing stand. The Obama family instantly started smiling and dancing as the group got them fired up, and I was there to watch as Michelle got her groove on and VP Biden got off his seat to do a little dance himself. Since I might have been tackled by Secret Service had I tried to take a picture, I'm really glad that the video below exists. This was exactly my view of the whole thing, including Sasha trying to get her too-cool older sister excited by the group :-).