A historic day in America

Cindy Von Quednow

I had planned out my perfect trip for this winter break a long time ago. I bought my plane ticket from Los Angeles to Houston, and from El Paso to Washington, D.C. I figured I’d kill three birds with one stone and visit as many people as I could over our extra long vacation. I also thought I’d head over to D.C to attend and/or cover the inauguration of our 44th president, Barack Obama. I have a friend in the area that was willing to take me in and I went shopping for warm clothes in advance. As I soon found out, a place to crash was the only base I had covered.’

Although I thought I didn’t need a ticket to mull around the Capitol and National Mall during the swearing in ceremony and the subsequent parade, and although I thought I could get a press pass the second I landed in D.C, I had neither option available to me. Since then I’ve been trying to see if I could somehow get a ticket at the last minute. I had settled on walking around the area along with the millions of people who, like me, were not able to get tickets. I figured I’d bask in the experience, get some good quotes and video footage, oh yeah, and freeze. By some miracle, however, I just got a ticket for the 50th swearing in ceremony at the National Mall, and I still get to freeze.’

Like I mentioned, I did go shopping in Los Angeles before heading out, but for some reason, I severely underestimated the January weather in D.C. I’m not sure if I forgot that D.C is in the East Coast, or if I was just confident that I would be OK in thin V-neck shirts and sweaters. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been made fun of and gotten long stares as I walk Downtown with only three layers on.

That was back when I could walk Downtown without getting bumped into and pushed around. Since I had lived in the District before, I can say that I’m pretty familiar with the area, but this is definitely not the D.C. I left five months ago.

Getting around, whether by car or train, has become increasingly difficult, as people are coming into the tiny city and its neighboring suburbs. In the past two days, I’ve gotten stuck in a crowd of people at Union Station, and in a line of cars down Georgia Avenue.

But enough complaining. After all, I came back for a reason, right? Although I was used to regular rush hour and humid weather, this D.C on steroids is getting ready to swear in the first African-American president. This D.C is attracting millions of people to witness an historical event. Sure, the District has a lot to offer tourists from all over world, of all shapes and sizes, and of all religions and colors, but I know that today they are here for something and someone very special. As a woman from Texas I met today told me, everyone is here for the same reason, and they are all thinking and feeling the same thing.