Temperature in the low twenties
Wind chill in the teens
A flurry or two maybe
Millions of hats and twice the number of boots
Scarves and gloves
Fists wrapped around hand-warmers
Toe-warmers jammed into shoes
The wind is whipping up hair and scarves
Noses are red and cold, eyes are tearing
From the chill or from emotion
It's hard to tell
The Mall, usually empty
Grass as far as the eye can see
Not so today
Just people and flags
Jammed into every inch of space
Michelle delicious in a lemon-colored suit
Barack in a red tie
Have a gift for the Bushes
Wonder what it is
Red ribbon around a square white box
A journal and pen for Mrs. Bush
According to Charlie Gibson
So she can write her memoir
And what a memoir it will be!
Spike Lee in his white NY Yankees ear-muffed hat
Ted Kennedy in his blue scarf and and a black hat
Dustin Hoffman with a crown of grey hair
Magic Johnson, black cap over a shaved head
Annie Leibowitz clicking away
Jill Biden in a smashing red coat and knee-high boots
Dick Cheney in a wheel chair, walking stick in hand
Motorcade going down Pennsylvania Avenue
What a thrilling sight!
Car after car, black, foreboding, impenetrable
Down the street I've walked on a hundred times
The crowd is screaming their heads off
Diane Sawyer talking about a taxi that got itself into the motorcade one year
What a thing to happen!
Not this year though, not a chance
Security is tight, tight, tight
The motorcade arrives at the Capitol
The main players walking in
A shot of Arnold Schwazzenegger, gloved but not hatted
Rahm Emmanuel, John Kerry
The Justices walking down
John Roberts, Rick Warren, Colin Powell
Scalia, Sandra Day O'Connor
The MC's voice booming over the microphone
All eyes on the red-draped arch through which Obama will walk in
The cabinet and agency designees walking in
The older Bushes all color-coordinated in purple
Joe Biden's mom striding purposefully on the arms of a younger man
Jimmy and Rosalind Carter
Hillary and Bill Clinton
Clinton and the elder Bush in a warm hug (rivals earlier but pals now)
16 years have taken a toll over Bush 41
Rahn Emmanuel just thumbed his nose at someone!
Who, oh who??
Hillary walks out as Former First Lady
Not as Secretary of State designee
Bill Clinton looks grumpy
Perhaps he's mulling over what might have been
The kids warm in pjs and housecoat
Sprawled on pillows on the carpet
Moving to the band music
Charlie Gibson, George Stephanapoulous and Diane Sawyer on the TV
Keeping it low, keeping it alive
I'm content to listen to their banter
Always appreciate George's POV
The Clintons and the Bushes (43) are catching up
The Obama kids come out with their grandma
Aretha Franklin! Oh My God!
Two shocking red hats and scarves in the crowd
Obama's family - a melting pot of its own
Black, white, Asian
A chanting, "Obama, Obama"
No time for a decorous silence waiting for the President and President-Elect
Michelle Obama and Jill Biden walking out
Michelle holding the bible that her husband will take the oath on
Encased in a red box, water-proof, fire-proof
A stray piece of ribbon hanging on Obama's lemon suit
Now finds its purpose - it's supposed to be tied just above her waist
Times Square, NY, overflowing with people
The President and Vice-President
The band strikes up Hail to the Chief!
Joe Biden and Barack Obama up next
Can't get over the sea of people on the Mall
Nancy Pelosi can't stop grinning
C is counting down the last few minutes of Bush's Presidency
Last 20 minutes!
The bare trees look like dust bunnies
The chanting begins again
Shots of the crowd
Their bodies may be freezing
Perhaps they're warm from the inside
Obama's view, never before afforded any other President
Two miles down the Mall, clear to the Lincoln Memorial
Two million people, two million flags
Barack H. Obama, says the MC
He's using the H!
Diane Feinstein does the welcoming address
Peaceful transfer of power is her theme
Rick Warren doing the invocation
A lot of controversy when he was picked
But no booing now
Everyone is silent
Aretha Franklin and My Country 'Tis of Thee
What a treat!
A great big sparkly bow on her head rising from a cap
The woman knows how to make a fashion statement out of necessity!
People are crying - who can blame them!
OMG, it's happening
It's the beginning of a new beginning
Justice Stevens swears in Biden
D is within two feet of the TV and has her hand up too! :)
The country has a new VP! Whoo hooo!
Lots of hugs going around
Yitzak Perlman and Yo Yo Ma and two others I can't recognize
Playing a John Williams composition
Yo Yo Ma left his regular Cello at home
(The 200-year old one he left behind in a NY taxicab once
and the good driver returned to him)
That cello can't stand the cold, apparently
Has a carbon cello for the occassion
The violin and celllo are hard to bear
Emotions are already running high
Surely we did not need this heart-rending music too!
Everyone please stand!
John Roberts administers the oath
The man Obama voted against to confirm for the Supreme Court
The clock has struck noon
Gibson says the White House website has changed already
Obama has his hand on Lincoln's bible
He fumbles briefly, Michelle smiles
Congratulations Mr. President
And with those words,
Barack Hussein Obama is President of the United States!!!
Will need to go read it later
For now, content to let a Presidential address wash over
Gathering storms, real challenges, lost jobs, shuttered businesses
But they will be met
Will really need to read
Not paying attention at all
The images are gripping
"We are ready to lead once more," he says
What must the Bushes be thinking?
What a way to leave the White House!
To those in the Muslim world
"People will judge you by what you build
Not what you destroy."
Challenges, instruments with which to face the challenges are new
But the values with which to fight them are the old and true
Great line tying George Washington's invocation
to a nation being just born
The expectations were high
Don't think anyone will say he did not meet them
Except may be Ann Coulter?
Elizabeth Alexander delivers the inaugural poem
Obama's colleague at U of Chicago
Praise for the Day, the title
Robert Frost for Kennedy
Maya Angelou for Clinton
Oprah and Steadman looking serious
Rev. Joseph Lowery delivers a prayer
Diane Feinstein does a great job shepherding the inaugural committee
And with the national anthem
Smiles and cheers all around
The change has come!
Let the party begin!
Oh, this is so nostalgic!
The Bushes prepare to leave the city
No longer their home
The helicopter is standing ready
The Bidens are saying goodbye to the Cheneys
Who'll drive to their home in McLean (?)
The Obamas are walking the Bushes to the helicopter
They wave goodbye
The paegentry is amazing - sad and exciting at the same time
The new guard seeing off the old guard
Image source: Washington Post (Getty Images)
The blades are whirring
That Pink Floyd song, from The Wall
The old guard now a speck in the sky.
Here's the text of Obama's Presidential inaugural address. Thanks Altoid!
Here's the part invoking George Washington's speech:
"Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.
OK, Obama and John Roberts made nice just now at the luncheon. During the swearing in, Obama fumbled, asked Roberts to repeat the words, then it seemed like Roberts threw him off by switching the words around.
Washington, D.C. travel essay published last year, when the primaries were in full swing.
Obama speaking at the luncheon referring to Senator Ted Kennedy taking ill. There's an ambulance outside the Capitol and a stretcher at the ready.