The Skanner's own Bobbie Dore Foster was in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama. While it wasn't exactly what she expected to happen, she says it was an experience that she's glad she didn't miss.
Starting at around 7:30 a.m. on a packed Metro train from her room at a Catholic convent near Catholic University, Foster tried with thousands of others to get to the gates on time. But a train breakdown ahead slowed progress.
"When we got to the next stop, hundreds of people were waiting," she said. Many of them managed to squeeze into the jam-packed train.
After arriving at the National Mall at around 9 a.m., the line to get into the ticketed area was backed up for what seemed a mile, she said. Ticket holders who had been there since the crack of dawn weren't being let in. At one point, people started chanting "Let Us In!" to no avail from the overworked and understaffed security officials.
Foster said she waited around until 11:30, the official start time of festivities, when she broke from the line to look for a speaker or a Jumbotron.
"I was able to hear the speech," she said. "There were people climbing in trees trying to see."
There were so many people in the area, landscaping was destroyed, bushes were trampled – not in a last-minute political protest, but in an attempt to get near the event. She said it was mainly a diverse crowd, with perhaps 50 percent being African American. Many were from all over the United States – Denver, New Orleans, South Carolina, North Carolina. Many were young, but there was a good mix of older people – even one older woman who took out a pack of Tic Tacs with which she had adorned a picture of President Obama. She offered the "Obama Tic Tacs" to two crying children. It seemed to perk up their day, said Foster.
Aileen Hayes, a graduate student in social work at Catholic University, who met with Foster, said she'd never seen so much energy in people.
"It feels good to have a president I could believe in," she told The Skanner.
Despite the goodwill and cheers of the day, Hayes came across one group of angry right wing Christian protestors who were yelling and carrying signs.
"We all started singing," she said. The songs were a combination of "Lean on Me" "Celebration" and "Times They are A-Changin'".
"It was a really beautiful moment."
After an exhausting day of walking and waiting in crowds of people near the National Mall, Foster returned to the Catholic convent where she is staying. Although there are going to be hundreds of balls, galas and parties across the nation's capital on Tuesday night, Foster said she's going to turn on the television.
"I'll probably be looking at a rerun of whatever it is I missed today," she said with a laugh.