With a crowd of nearly 2 million onlookers, and countless others from around the world, the United States of America swore in its 44th President, Barack Obama, at the state Capitol in Washington D.C. More historic to the occasion, was the fact that President Obama is the first African American to be sworn into the office of the Presidency of the United States, the highest office in the land. He is officially the Commander in Chief.
Throngs of onlookers attended in epic proportions, as they watched and listened as an historic event took place. A feeling of hope, love and comradely filled the air from Washington D.C. to, Alabama. From New York to, California. Reaching across the waters to London, Japan, Spain, and the birth place of President Obama’s father, Kogelo, Kenya. No matter where you were; whether you were in the crowds at the nation’s Capitol or the many restaurants, civic centers, churches, bars or at home in your living room, no one could deny the electricity that emanated from all the hearts and minds of a people united to not only witness, but share in the inauguration of the 44th President of these United States.
No one can quite recall the last time that such fanfare has surrounded the inauguration of a president. In this age of technology, the ability to broadcast world wide, enabled the world to participate in the historic event.
People drove for days from across the nation just to make it to Washington. Many, not caring if they couldn't’t actually see the inauguration up close and personal, but just for the chance to say that they were there when it happened.
There were many that arrived in Washington days before, braving freezing weather, sleeping in cars and RV’s, and on the Mall. Many streets and highways were closed after 2:30 am, including the bridges leading into Washington; leaving numerous people to find ways into the state. Countless arrived by foot, walking for miles. Others traveled by water ferries. But no one complained. The crowds took it in stride and continued to celebrate despite frigid cold and the abundant amount of people, barely having two feet of space between them.
An abiding feeling of hope and excitement filled and, no doubt, kept them warm. People from every walk of life. There were no rich, poor, black, white on that day. It was America. It was a nation coming together to celebrate what, “they the people” made happen.
Far more than pomp and circumstance. Far more than glitz and glamour. Far more than ceremony, the inauguration was reflective of the new administration that has arrived in Washington. From the moment of the morning church services to the enamored first dance of the President and first lady, the day was stamped with the seal of class and confidence. The transition of power from President Bush to President Obama seemed flawless. The respect and admiration that surrounded the inaugural celebration was evident to anyone witnessing the historic event.
During the inaugural process, President Obama and first lady, Michelle Obama, were greeted by President Bush and first lady, Laura Bush at the white house. The courtliness and warmness that exchanged between the two couples were quite evident, especially as Michelle Obama handed Laura Bush a gift. (A leather bound journal) As they turned to walk into the white house for that last meeting, President Bush took Michelle Obama’s hand, escorting her into the white house. It showed grace, humility and honor, and set the tone for the entire day.
As the inaugural commenced, former presidents and vice presidents were introduced. There have never been that many former presidents in attendance for an inauguration at any other time in history. The air was filled with energy and anticipation.
Watching Malia and Sasha Obama enter, along with their grandmother, gave a feeling of awe and warmth. Walking into such a crowd, they neither seemed anxious or fearful, but excited. It is also a whole new world for these two first daughters, as the world will be watching them grow.
Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden entered together. Following their entrance were Vice President Joe Biden, then President Barack Obama. They greeted those around them, giving hugs, kisses, and handshakes, before each took their respective seats next to their children and families. Mrs. Obama held in her hands, Lincoln’s Bible, which President Obama used as he was sworn in. No other President since Lincoln himself, has used that Bible.
Next: The Invocation