[EDITOR’S NOTE: Bob is an Englishman who lives in Burien who is in Washington, D.C. for the Inauguration of President Obama. Previously, we posted his eyewitness account of election night, and are proud to be offering his continuing reports from the field on this historic occasion. This is the first in a series of exclusive reports Bob will be sending us, so be sure to check back often.]
PREPARING FOR INAUGURATION DAY
Thursday, November 6th, 2008 was a calm day. It felt like the world had changed and the weather was nice to go with it. After picking up the Seattle Times and Seattle Post Intelligencer as souvenirs, it occurred to me that there was no reason why I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go to the “other” Washington to see the inauguration. Fortunately, I have friends who live right across the river and are as enthusiastic as me about the whole thing.
A quick Google search for Ã¢â‚¬Å“Inauguration DayÃ¢â‚¬Â led me to an official page which gave ticket details. So, I filled in the request form for tickets from Congressman Adam Smith and Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. I understood it was a long shot – my friend in Buffalo works for Senator Charles Schumer and they had so many requests that they decided to have a lottery for their tickets. It didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter though. Getting a ticket was a bonus, because I was going anyway. I was going to stand on the mall with millions of others just to be there and witness history.
“I HAVE SOME GOOD NEWS FOR YOU…”
Monday, January 5th, 2009 was an ordinary day. That is, until 11:08 am when I got a phone call from a lady who said she worked for Congressman Adam Smith. She asked me if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d made plans to go to the inauguration.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“YesÃ¢â‚¬Â, I said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be there standing on the Mall with millions of others.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have some good news for youÃ¢â‚¬Â, she replied. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Someone canceled and you are next on the list for tickets.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Once IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d emerged from a state of disbelief I did what she asked me to do, which was to send her proof of my flight arrangement. A few minutes later I had written confirmation of my tickets. My friends were as amazed as I was.
PLANNING THE TRIP
For many weeks now, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been keeping a close eye on the Washington Post Inauguration Watch page and making sure weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll make the most of the event.
Today, Sunday, January 18th, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll stand for many hours to secure a good place near the Lincoln Memorial for the opening ceremony.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Bob called in around 9:40am Sunday morning to report he was indeed on the Mall, at the Lincoln Memorial with approximately “500,000 others,” bundled up for the 35-degree cold and positioning himself to watch today’s “We Are One” concert which features Bruce Springsteen, U2, Beyonce and several other big-name acts.]
On Monday, January 19th IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll go to the Rayburn office building and pick up our tickets. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know where weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be for certain, but it seems likely that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be in the Silver Ticket section behind the reflecting pool:
On Tuesday, January 20th, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll either go to our seats or, more realistically, walk about six miles to the Silver ticket standing area at a horribly unsociable hour. The goal will be to try to position ourselves near the center so we can see the Capitol Building and keep one eye on the jumbotron to our right. We will, of course, be freezing, but thanks to that great Seattle company REI it may not be so bad.
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll then watch as Barack Obama becomes our 44th president.
I still canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite believe that, so I have to say it again:
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll watch Barack Obama become our 44th president!
Thank you Congressman Adam Smith for giving us tickets for the inauguration.
And thank you Barack Obama for inspiring us and millions of people in the United States and around the world.