Peaceful transfer of power witnessed by millions in D.C.

Many a resident of the D.C. area hosted friends from all over the country to witness the Inauguration of President Barack Obama.   My friend Barb and I were two of the fortunate ones and prepared for the festivities. With no tickets, we could not enter the Mall area, so we bundled up and found a sunny spot on Independence Street near Third Street.  It was a great vantage point of the Capitol Building. We could not see individual officials on the platform of the Capitol, but could see people moving as they starting taking their seats on the Inauguration level, and listened to the festivities on radios playing nearby. 

Then Barb found us a space on Third Street, directly behind the Capitol Reflecting Pool, and the street was open to pedestrians. We had a straight shot ahead to the podium. The loud speakers were perfect, and we heard each word as our new president spoke them, including the pause.  Everyone we ran into was joyous, hopeful and appreciative of the event taking place.

Since the ceremony was almost over, we decided to wait for the helicopter departing with the former Commander in Chief over by the Museum of the American Indian, where we watched an Indian Drumming Circle at the entrance.  I missed the green helicopter, but Barb got photos. 

After a tasty lunch at the museum, we headed out to cross Pennsylvania Avenue to get to our host’s office for a little reception. This is where our adventure started. Unless you had wings, you could not cross Pennsylvania Avenue.  It was locked up until nightfall. Since we had to cross, the walking detour took us about two hours. We had to go around the Capitol itself, first south, then east to get to the northwest side. We walked up to the Capitol steps and looked over what our new President saw, but without the crowds.

When we turned east, we saw the Marines and the 1776 Marching Band all waiting for the new president to depart the Capitol and lead the parade to the White House. The band started, cars rolled out as we watched the escort start its march behind the presidential car.

We did not see millions of people, but rubbed shoulders with tens of thousands. We walked, rested, smiled at one another. We took the detours and the quirks of controlling a few million people in stride. Unlike other countries, we never saw the visible security of tanks, guns or patrols.

We, the people, witnessed the transfer of control of the United States of America from the 43rd president to the 44th president, in peace.

Anita Kazarian is a resident of University Heights and enjoys being an active citizen.

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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 3:19 PM, 01.22.2009