The sweetest revenge for eight years of failed policies came when the helicopter door opened. To watch former president George W. Bush walk to that helicopter and wave bye to the world had to be the most memorable moment of the entire inauguration. Who would have thought that Bush could have stolen the show without saying anything?
The large crowd applauded and erupted in excitement when they saw him boarding his departure helicopter. Everyone in the viewing party stood up and waved at the screen like Bush could see through the projector screen. I tried to hold my smile because I didn't want to look too happy to see him stripped of his presidency but even I couldn't hide it. Out with the old, in with the new.
Everyone was really happy. People of all races were watching. Four men walked up to me and asked for pictures and when I asked them where they were from [and] they told me Africa. I thought they were saying that they were originally from Africa, but they had traveled directly to Washington D.C. from Africa to see the inauguration. That was amazing to me.
We took a packed shuttle to the train and the packed train to the crowded parade. Everywhere we went there were crowds. Mostly African-Americans were in the streets, but there were more white people than I expected to see. I saw a young African-American guy hold back a crowd so an older white lady could board the escalator first. I saw an older African-American man give left over change to a young white girl who was a quarter away from a Starbucks coffee.
I saw no stampeding crowds. No chaos. It seemed like everyone was on their best behavior and the Secret Service and snipers who were on the roofs seemed bored. We couldn't get close enough to see Barack getting out of his car and walking the parade route, but we saw the excited faces of people who did get close enough.
I have never seen as much memorabilia for anyone as I saw for the Obama family in the streets. Everything you could name had the Obama name attached to it. Clothes, toys and even the food were marketed with Barack's picture attached. I wouldn't have been surprised to see Barack's grandmother on a shirt.
His daughters and his wife's faces also seemed to be popping up everywhere I turned. I purchased two Obama action figures and a scarf. The scarf and the shades were supposed to be to disguise myself from fans, but my disguise didn't work too well. I was getting a little sick, but I was in a good mood so it really didn't matter. By the time we got back to the train my hands and feet were almost numb.
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We spent the rest of the evening after the parade chatting with random people from all over the world. Everyone was friendly. We discussed views on politics and life with anyone that would listen. TV screens were everywhere in sight, replaying the images from the inauguration.
My camera man kept asking me to record drops on camera but I didn't feel like working. I was mentally and visually soaking up everything and didn't want to miss a moment. I felt just as proud as I did the day when Barack won the election. This will definitely be a moment that will stick with me forever.