Thursday, January 22, 2009

56th Presidential Inauguration 2009

i was selected to participate in the inauguration back in may 2008, long before some supporters jumped on the obama bandwagon and fed into the frenzy of buying up *whatever* obama souvenirs they could (obama condoms included). i was a part of a group of some ~5,000 undergrad and grad students from the US and other parts of the world who partook in the University Presidential Inauguration Conference (there were some 15,000 students total being hosted at the conference, including the middle and high school students). while the conference left much to be desired (thousands of students are currently signing petitions and seeking compensation for monies spent due to false advertisement), i am so grateful that i had the opportunity to go to dc to witness this historic event.

i arrived in DC on jan 17th. one could feel the city trembling with excitement and anticipation as everyone prepared for unprecedented numbers of Americans flocking to the area. i stayed at the marriott wardman park hotel; students were also posted in 5 other area hotels. (one good thing about the conference is that i had a nice hotel room with my own bed. some students slept on cots, even though their costs were the same.) we had talks from Al Gore and Colin Powell, and a couple workshop lectures, but there really wasn't much else to the conference. the main event was witnessing the 56th inauguration of our 44th president.

we also had a "private" gala (i.e. no one was there except us) that resembled a dressy high school junior prom, but i still looked good ;o)

but even with all of the issues of the UPIC conference, nothing could replace the sheer excitement and pride i felt the morning of the inauguration...

...there were SO many people outside on that cold morning. it was FREEZING, but everyone was so thrilled and happy to be there. everyone was so hopeful and loving and peaceful...kinda like woodstock...but without the free love and happy weed, of course ;o)

words cannot express the awe and honor i felt walking in solidarity with a few million of my fellow Americans to witness the swearing in of our 44th President - selected by popular vote and loved by persons throughout the world - Barack Hussein Obama, II...

(no, i didn't know these ladies. but i was so touched by their determination to bring their ancestors with them to the inauguration that i had to take a photo....)

watching that video just brings me back to that very moment...amazing is the only way i could describe it. truly a moment in history i will never forget.

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