Washington, DC – 2013 Inauguration “On the Scene”

Apolitical is how I would describe my lack of engagement until a decade ago, when I finally registered to vote after many election cycles had passed since I was age-eligible. An invitation from a politically savvy friend to go to the inauguration provided a chance to participate in a moment of history, meet people from around the world (I was to learn after getting there), and the opportunity to capture photographic images. It proved to be a fascinating experience that will always be an important memory.

71 - Seal of President (for inauguration)

Seal: erected temporary seating for inauguration

My friend is an educator and had previously been to inaugurations, and had a friend who had been to a few before, and offered his place in Virginia where we could camp out during our stay there. It was great to be with people who knew their way around DC and learn how to navigate the wonderful Metro subway. It is an amazing transportation system to get everywhere and the people who work for Metro, especially during the inauguration with a multitude of visitors pouring in from all corners of the world are to be commended for their courtesy. I found the people in DC very giving of directions in finding places to eat, and which could be a quick route or the more scenic route depending on one’s available time.

68 - Williard Hotel - Peace of Convention

The Willard Hotel is breathtaking and worth a look inside

On inauguration day, the three of us were up and out the door at 4:45 am to get to the Metro station in Virginia and board with others who were already waiting for the 5:00 am, first train. I spoke with a woman who was from North Carolina who said she could not forgive herself if she did not travel the distance to be present for the inauguration. I loved listening to her talk with a soft Southern accent much like how my new friend in Virginia spoke. It was only one day earlier at a Sunday open market, where I heard accents from two Australians, a father and son, who we gave passes to as one of the people who was to fly out and join us came down with a horrible cold. They were pleased to have extra inauguration passes so they could get a close up view. The son had written a paper in college which won him the trip.

83 - the Aussies #2 best

Australians who knew a lot about American politics

It was quite a bit colder in DC for the Australians as this is their warm season, but was relatively mild compared to the inauguration four years before, as told to me by my friend who I traveled with this time from Portland, Oregon. We were prepared for the weather. I had gloves and wore a full length, lined, and hooded coat and was warm all day. It was hard not to be with the body heat of people who you stood by for five hours, elbow-to-elbow, shoulder-to-shoulder from Atlanta, Georgia and KU in Lawrence, Kansas. The ground where we stood had bark on it and we tromped down grooves for each foot. No beverages were allowed, not even water, but I was glad I brought a Clif® Bar and a couple of ounces of dried fruit.

98 - no drinks allowed

All drinks left behind

The section where we got passes was just behind the railing and just behind the seating. We had a view of the red arch where each of the speakers and singers presented their part of the event. There are a lot of pictures that will show the inauguration in its glory, but mine show people in the scene, and the close proximity where ordinary individuals could position themselves to view the happenings.  Nobody, not even a nearby ten year old, complained about anything. The exception was about a guy who had climbed up in a tree with a sign that supported his position on a divisive issue and ranted about it during the entire program. He was so high up in the branches that a ladder brought by officials and propped against the tree could not reach him. He was arrested at the end of the inauguration when he descended his perch.

92 - view of Obama on screen #1 best

Camera stretched to screen to capture Obama speaking

Many people had stood in line starting at 4:30 am that morning to get an advantageous viewing position even though we were not let in to the security areas until 7 am. It was there I downed my half bottle of water, had my purse and camera checked, and merged with the crowd while trying to keep my friends in sight. The people moved quickly but did not push and shove. It was just as amazing how considerate everyone was when it was over and we moved again as a wall of people to exit the crowded grounds.

106 - crowd shot #8 best

Amazing spirit after the inspiring speeches and music ended

The days before, during, and after the inauguration will remain a part of my history as an American who came reluctantly to a point of involvement and am glad I made the decision to do so. It is my hope that what I have written and the images I share will be a source of inspiration to motivate the reader to get involved in the process because without each of you – how can we have hope for the future? The next four years as President Obama and the lovely Michelle Obama work to make the desired improvements here will be appreciated by all who took the time to vote and contribute to the democratic process.

101  - crowd shot #3 best

The young people are the next generation decision makers

69 - street scene - the Button Man

The button man — one button $3 including picture

You can reproduce the photographs with a notation of my name. D.L. Livingston


9 thoughts on “Washington, DC – 2013 Inauguration “On the Scene”

  1. Reviewing your website filled with historical pictures is a true testament of my Louisville,KY Civil Rights Days in March, 1961 when I began peacefully marching beside Dr. M.L. King, JR and I was jailed at 13 yrs old April 18, 1961 from a Louisville downtown restaurant trying to secure our Civil and Equal rights for All cultures as well as any gender. I am thankful for my trip to D.C. for my first chance to wave my US flag on the national mall at the 57th Presidential Inauguration with two of my grandchildren actually age 13 yrs at the time by myside.

    1. Charlene — I am in awe of your personal experience and am so grateful we were standing next to each other in a line to attend that event where Clarence Jones (Martin Luther King’s speech writer) was speaking. We were also there to attend the inauguration a few days later and that was a great experience for me and all who lined up early and deep. I’m glad you read my blog and hopefully it will be a “cyber” reminder of the good times we experienced in our journey for justice and civil rights.

      1. Diva–it was one of the most joyous times of my life attending the Presidential Inauguration and also meeting you. I have been volunteering to speak to groups of youths in our public school system as well as this past Saturday Jack & Jill of America,. Inc students who are also Whitney Young Scholars and Black Achievers as some of my family members have been for decades. The play with the same title of my book debuts July 12, 13, 2013 here in Louisville, KY, my native city, I am hoping that the playwright I allowed to write a script from my publication will allow a bigger sponsor to make sure the play will be performed across America. It was a joy to meet you.

  2. Nice! I can imagine how electrifying it must have been to be there. One in a lifetime experience. Glad you did it Diva! And is now writing about it to us!

    1. Paula—I feel that it was electifying as Diva states. Meeting kind and wonderful women who enjoy being part of history was itself a grand experience. Now that I have met with my new publisher hopefully I can add the experience to include names of my new friends. Hopefully someone will send me a photo to include in the reprinting of “Whitlock’s Compositions.”

      1. Charlene — stay in touch with me about photos of the inauguration. The ones that are on this blog, if useful to you, can be available to you for your book. Let me know!

      2. Diva–thank you for being so kind to remember me in your blogs. I am in talks now still with the publisher. However I have several television and radio personalities to interview me regarding the historic play to debut in my native city, Louisville, KY on July 12, 2013 @ 7 p.m. To also have marched with Jackie Robinson, baseball’s legendary sports hero on March 5, 1964 on our state capitol still as a teenager I am indeed filled with gratitude for those who appreciate history.

      3. Hello Diva–my play will debut here in Louisville, July 12, 2013 in the same neighborhood as our Honorable Mayor, Greg Fischer. I will e-mail you the flier of the announcement.

  3. Paula — you chose a great word to describe the experience because it was electrifying. I still get excited when I think about how it all came together and how thrilling it was to be part of a larger consciousness.

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