Dartmouth does the inauguration
By 7 a.m., the crowds were lined up past the Washington Monument. I was already packed in with the even earlier risers. One woman, waiting to use the port-a-potty, told me she had been up since 1 a.m. and had driven all the way from Richmond, Va. When her friends had inquired as to why she was up so early, she replied, “Did you forget what I came here for today?” Then she mentioned that she’d been holding it since 2 a.m. Her enthusiasm was just what I needed to hear to get through the cold, five-hour wait. As I snapped pictures, obviously planning to Instagram them later, the man behind me yelled, “It’s like I'm gonna get hella 'likes' on this.” Everyone was fired up and ready to go, regardless of how early we had gotten up.
After the long wait — and the extended shots of former president Bill Clinton and his extremely white teeth — Obama was sworn in and began his inaugural address. The crowds quieted and everyone concentrated on the President’s words. Families held each other close, and those around me waved flags and shouted words of approval in agreement with his firm and resolute stances on divisive social and political issues. Although we could only see him on the monitor, Obama appeared to have been speaking from the heart. It was powerful to watch the crowd respond and recognize that they were a part of something important.
The program saved the best for last, however, with Beyonce singing the National Anthem. The crowd’s cheers for “Sasha Fierce” rivaled those in support of Biden and Clinton. While the nearly one million attendees of the inauguration eventually filed out of the National Mall, the high spirits, energy, and passion remained throughout the city. —Alexandra Barg '15
Barg is a member of the Dartbeat staff.
What struck me about [President Barack Obama's] speech today was that it reminded me of the Obama I saw in the 2008 campaign. It seemed slightly more sober, recognizing the hurdles our country has ahead, but at the same time determined, forceful and inspiring. I came away from the ceremony hopeful and with a sense of purpose, and I don't think I was alone in that. There's no way to know what the next four years hold, but after today I'm optimistic.—Michael Perlstein '14
On Monday morning, I got up at 7 a.m. with some housemates in order to get a good spot during the inauguration. We were expecting killer lines and a packed metro, but it was a pleasant ride to the National Mall. Once there, though, we saw thousands upon thousands of people crowding around the mall getting ready for the event. To pass the time, we brought cards and snacks. Once the ceremonies started, it was really great seeing all the politicians we hear about on a daily basis on the Hill and some celebrities too!
We were in a pretty great location but not close enough to see the real action. There were big screens every 400 meters so that people could see what was going on. It was great to hear Obama speak about many of the social issues that were not necessarily debated [in his inaugural address]. My housemates and I were glad that he included climate change in his speech, as we are all pretty sustainable. Once Beyonce finished [her performance], it was our cue to leave. It was a mess and we decided to walk four miles back to where we lived in order to avoid the metro. —Andres Ramirez '14
Inauguration weekend is kind of like Homecoming at Dartmouth. I wasn't very organized so I didn't get tickets to the inauguration or parade, but it was cool to be in the city this weekend because there was a lot of excitement. While I was waiting in a big crowd at the security checkpoint, we noticed that there were snipers on all the rooftops. At one point, they waved at the people on the street and led the crowd in cheers, which was hilarious. —Pallavi Kuppa-Apte '14
Kuppa-Apte is a former member of The Dartmouth staff.
Obama's speech was more political than I expected, yet subtle. I appreciated the emphasis on diversitythroughout the inaugural ceremony. It was truly moving to see our nation's first black president, and his first lady, a descendant of slaves, walk down New York Avenue towards the White House on Martin Luther King Day. —Karima Ma '14