Present for historical moment
PLU Senior Morgan Root spent last week in Washington D.C., experiencing the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The following is her account of the historic occasion. There is absolutely nothing like watching the president of the United States be sworn into office as you stand with 1.5 million people.
On January 20, 2009 I had the opportunity to do just that. Instead of traveling to some exotic tropical place, my own personal J-term adventure took me to the nation’s capital. As I stood by the Washington Monument and cheered with thousands and thousands of people I couldn’t believe I was there.
At 12:06 p.m. EST Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States. The crowd cheered and cheered. It was such a wonderful feeling to hear his speech, his voice resounding, across the entire Mall. Once his speech concluded the crowds began heading toward the exits. Some headed for the parade route others visited DC monuments or simply headed home.
As more and more people exited the Mall dust clouds where whipped up in the wind, dropping from an already 30 degree temperature to an estimated 15 degrees. It was all worth it. To walk along the Mall and see news cameras, the capital in front of me, to hear the cheers of the crowd as the President and Vice President made their way to the White House, to see the Parade on the jumbotrons, there is just nothing like that I have ever done.
For a long time I have known a Bush (Sr. and W.) in the White House, this day brought a new face and a change that is so desperately needed in the world today. As Bob Dylan sang back in 1964, “the times they are a changing.” That day I witnessed something some people thought would never happen. I would be lying if part of me thought back in 2007, that it would never happen. I always hoped it would, but a small part of me didn’t fully believe in this country. I didn’t fully believe that they would make the right choice.
But on November 4 something changed and on Jan. 20, 2009 it was real, nothing was going to stop this country from pulling itself back up. For the first time in a long time I felt proud, I belted “My Country Tis of Thee” and “America the Beautiful” I grinned and cheered and despite the cold, I wanted to stay out there forever.
While history will tell us exactly what becomes of this president, I will always proudly tell my children or anyone who asks that at 12:06 p.m. January 20, 2009, I was standing on the grass at the Mall in DC watching President Barack Obama take the oath of office and become the 44th president.
I can’t think of another time that will bring me mere feet away from Chris Matthews or when I will watch Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow reporting live in front of me. So all of you at home, I hoped you enjoyed your warm houses, your HD TVs with surround sound. Yes you probably had a better view than I did and I was frozen from the inside out by the end of the day and yes I got windburn and probably some degree of hypothermia, but I loved every moment of that historic day.
Morgan Root is a senior at PLU. She is a communication major with an emphasis in journalism and a minor in political science. The photos were also provided by Root.