Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Inauguration Dreams

I'm a dreamer...so against all reasonable facts, I have been imagining an historic trip to Washington, DC in January. I mean...who hasn't thought it would be the ultimate life experience to be present when Barack Obama takes the oath of office as the 44th President of the United States on January 20? One of the first things I did on November 5 was check hotel availability in the DC area. HaHaHaHaHaHa! Some crazy people think ahead about these things. Waaay ahead. There's not a hotel/motel room within 45-miles of the steps of the US Capitol, January 18 - January 21. There are 250,000 free tickets to the swearing in, distributed - officially - by our elected reps in Congress. I hear many of them have stopped taking calls from constituents asking for a ticket. If you are lucky enough to get one of these prized seats (and you were smart enough to secure lodging in advance), here's what you might see. Not exactly what you'd see on your HDTV... Still...how cool would that be? (And when I say cool, I mean COLD...average January high temperature in DC is 42-degrees!!) But today I read in the Washington Post that DC officials are preparing for FOUR MILLION people to crowd the National Mall on Inauguration Day. If you're wondering, as I was, how much 4-million is...well, it's at least 4 times the number of people who've ever officially gathered on the 1.9 mile x 300' Mall.

And if you're wondering, as I was, what kind of human crush that might be...here's what 1-million people (unofficial count for the 2004 March for Women's Lives) on the Mall looks like:

So, just multiply that by four.

In case you've never been to DC...let me orient you to the National Mall. It stretches, basically, from the Lincoln Memorial on the West to the steps of the Capitol on the East. The stretch, as I mentioned, is almost 2-miles and covers 146 acres. (the east/west green strip on the map below)

Still...perhaps, like me, you are strong of spirit and believe just catching the vibe of the day might outweigh the distractions of cold weather, human stew, and street sleeping. If you've worked on the story that history like this comes around only once in a lifetime and watching it on the flat screen in the living room just won't do it justice...I share one last image. This is the one that changed my mind.

Here's what your view of the day is likely to be - only you should fill in the blank space with 4-million heads.

Who wants to meet at my house?



carolf1968 said...

I too love the idea. However, we have been on the National Mall on the Fourth of July with a million or so close friends about 20 years ago. It was a day of incredibly long porta-potty lines, overpriced scarce food, the traffic jams of your worst nightmare, and endless waiting for hours and hours while fighting the crowd so to keep our spot. Since then there has been 9/11 and Homeland Security and all the new safety precautions , and now hopefully even more Secret Service security for the first black President. Add the bitter cold of January to all that and I know I will enjoy it all much better here in Texas. ( We lived in Maryland for 9 years and it was there I learned to really seriously hate the cold.)

I am looking for some great Democratic gathering around here with big crowds and celebration. Surely we can find some place to all go and participate in this momentous occasion. Part of me just won't believe this is real until Obama is actually sworn in.

gay said...

To be a part of history in the making, what an opportunity. Your belief in HOPE should be rewarded.

I think you should try to go - 4 million people will help keep you warm. I could make a phone call for you - have contacts with the Gaylord National folks - who knows it might work?

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