(click for larger view)
We're back home in Alexandria, warmed by a hot bath, a few glasses of celebratory wine, my brother-in-law's delicious shepherd's pie.
I really don't know what to say about the day. For me, it was all about being in that enormous crowd -- a crowd that represented the other America, the America that has felt imprisoned and betrayed by the last eight years.
The TV coverage, apparently, didn't show what really happened: when Bush was introduced, a "boo" arose from all those millions of people that must have been completely audible; it was extremely loud. And when his helicopter lifted off, a cheer arose along with millions of uplifted arms, waving goodbye, (quite a few, I'd say, with middle finger raised) -- all the length of the Mall. I was a little surprised, and didn't participate in the booing, but it was not so much rudeness as it was a spontaneous shucking off of a tremendous burden and source of despair, and an acknowledgment that this man never represented us, he was not of us, and Obama is clearly someone entirely other. The day for me was all about being part of that tremendous crowd who felt that America was being taken back, repossessed, by the people who have felt so disenfranchised all this time. Their presence, and the fact that they had traveled so far to be there, was not just a personal desire but also a statement to the world that there actually is another American spirit, and it's still alive.
We were quite close -- in front of the reflecting pool, close enough to see the people speaking at the podium but not to identify them, and able to look back and see the throngs on the Mall - absolutely astounding. I went back and forth between watching the real thing at the Capitol and watching the television screen.
And man, it was cold! And what a long walk it was back home - I am aching - we walked all the way back from the Capitol to Arlington, across the Potomac past the Pentagon because the crowds were so huge
and the buses so non-functional. Getting there, and getting through security, was pretty easy.
But as for processing the day further, understanding my own feelings, and writing something deeper -- that is going to have to wait a day or two.J. took a great many pictures and we'll be posting the best of them on a linked website soon. Tomorrow we travel back home, so look for something here on Thursday.
I can tell you this: today I was very proud to be American.