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We'll bring you first-hand accounts of local Seattle-area residents and their journey to D.C. and generally all things inauguration. If you're going to the inauguration and would like to contribute, contact us here.

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January 20, 2009 12:40 PM

Lost in the (mall)

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Teresa Scribner

The big day has finally arrived and my friends and I are sick with excitement. We left the house walking at 7:15 am and actually made it to the mall within 50 minutes. To see that many people walking down the streets like that was amazing. You could definitely feel the sense of unity in the air. But that attitude quickly changed when we arrived at the Mall entrance. After scoring tickets to the nice seating area up front, we walked about 10 blocks only to be told we needed to go back to 14th street because the sections were filling up. My friend was exhausted and upset, but I told her we weren't turning back.

We finally made it to the section for ticket holders, but it was a mess. Silver tickets. Blue tickets. Orange tickets. Go here. Go there. This is closed. Hey, there's Spike Lee!! The line is forming this way!!! It was every man for himself at that point and people were no longer full of peace. They were pushy. Literally. At one point my friend and I got separated and I felt like a kid lost in the mall. (No pun intended). We FINALLY make it past the gate just after 10:30, missing all the musical warm-up performances. Once inside we discovered it was a misplaced Port-A-Potty that was causing the long wait. Who puts the bathrooms in the middle of the walking path?

We made it to our seats just as the Cabinet members took the stage. It was so cold my lips were numb and I couldn't even tell if my nose was running or not. After all that pushing and shoving I still couldn't grasp just how large the crowd was until the pictures came up on the big screen. I was amazed we even made it to Independence Ave.

I was standing there with my friend who immigrated here from Bangladesh when she was 14. As Obama took the oath she reached down and squeezed my hand. All day I had been thinking about my mom and how much she's seen in the 71+ years she's been on this earth. But I think when Obama gave his speech and talked about our relationship with other countries, it made me wonder what my friend thought about this country and if she saw the same progression as my mom.

I liked the speech, but I thought it was a little on the down side. And I kept waiting for that one line, THE line, of Obama's speech that would go down in history. But it felt like he would build up to say something great, but not really deliver a solid punch. There were some really great quotes though.

Overall, it was well worth it to fight our way to those seats. I'm glad I was there to witness this country take another step toward change.

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