Friday, January 23, 2009


Early on Tuesday morning we dropped Tom & Mary at the Metro - they had the now infamous silver tickets and needed to arrive early.  Since we didn't have tickets we left a little later, boarding a bus for downtown.  
The entire area surrounding the National Mall was closed to all vehicles and thousands of people filled the streets.  Everyone was in a celebratory mood, total strangers talking to each other, smiling, waving... there was so much excitement!  The huge crowd could have been a little frightening but everyone was patient, moving slowly, taking turns, getting along.

Knowing we couldn't get to any place where we'd have an actual view of the proceedings, we decided to just wander around and see where we ended up.  We found our way to Pennsylvania Ave. in front of the Willard Hotel - the sun was shining in the 22 degree cold, and the reflected warmth from the building was welcome.  We could hear the program clearly, people surrounding us were listening quietly, grinning, making small comments. Then the big moment arrived, Barack Obama became our president, and shouts of joy came from all around us!  Tears, hugs, cheers and high-fives everywhere.

If we had stayed at our corner, we could have seen the President and First Lady walk right by, but that was more than 3 hours later, and we were freezing!  Amazingly, the cell phones worked and we were able to meet up with our family & friends.  Tom & Mary reported that they made it into the ticketed area, unlike many other silver ticket holders, so they were in one of the closest standing locations.  Many others were not so fortunate and although they had tickets they were turned away because of the crowds, or just never even made it to an entry gate.

The crowd at the Irish pub was celebratory, singing, cheering, making friends from all over the country as we warmed up and had our first meal since leaving home that morning.  Everyone cheered as we caught glimpses of our new President on the television.  As we walked towards the metro to go home we saw the Capitol building, shining white against the night sky - a symbol of hope for all of us.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What a Party!

On Monday, we went to RFK stadium, where we had volunteered to help pack care packages for the military.  Upon arrival, we found that they had already exceeded their 75,000 pack goal - they were just up to 85,000, and out of supplies.  We were quite impressed with the way the event was organized... they weren't going to risk losing volunteers just because they were finished with the project - immediately upon arrival we were asked to grab some Thank You cards and personally write a message on as many as possible.  The cards will accompany the care packages.

When our shift was up, we headed via Metro for home... and dinner at the Irish Inn at Glen Echo.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Kickoff

We made our way via bus and Metro, to the National mall yesterday. First stop was the Longworth Building, where many of our Congressional Representative have their offices. We found our way to the office of Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva where my brother and sister-in-law (Tom & Mary) picked up their tickets to the Inauguration. For John and me it was our first opportunity to walk through the halls of Congress, seeing familiar names on many of the doors.
Lunch at the American Indian Museum fortified us (and provided antifreeze) for our long walk to the far end of the mall, the Lincoln Memorial, where the We Are One concert was held.

What an event!  Half a million people, each one thrilled to be there for this celebration.  Smiles, tears, hugs - and a pretty good show, too!  People were hanging on every word, silent and respectful when appropriate and joyous, singing and dancing at other times.  

Since our President elect is named O'Bama, clearly he must be Irish, so our little party of four has made it a goal to get to as many Irish bars as possible during these four days!  After the concert we walked a couple of miles to the Dubliner, and did our best to celebrate for all of you who couldn't be here with us.

Now, we're off to RFK stadium, where we volunteered to come help pack care packages to be sent to the military.  And then another Irish pub this evening...
More soon...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Inauguration Fever!

Barack Obama's inauguration is approaching, only 1 week to go, and D.C. is abuzz with excitement, you can feel it in the air!  The newspapers are filled with information - how to get there, which bridges/roads will be closed, what you can bring (or not bring).  We're told to expect hour-or-longer waits for metro trains, and packed buses.
Not that we're looking forward to standing in the cold for 6 or 7 hours, far from food or rest rooms, but we're going!  This is a once-in-a-lifetime event and since we live here, we want to be a part of it all.  
We'll be taking pictures (probably mostly of millions of people..) and will update the blog as often as we have new information/pictures.