Patrick Devanney, the ERC’s Retention Program Specialist, was invited to view President Barack Obama’s Inauguration
and take part in an historical moment in our nation’s history week. Patrick canvassed for Congressman John Tierney (D-MA 6th District)
this past fall.
I made my way to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January 19th, meandering through New England byways and the length of the New Jersey Turnpike (122.4 miles, according to Google) along the way. On the trip down, I reflected on my eight months of knocking on 2,000 doors and phoning 500 households. I did not expect that my canvassing efforts would result in two tickets to the Inauguration, courtesy of my Congressman.
I imagined these throngs of people, the crowd’s energy, thousands of people moving in a single mass as what the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square must be like. The flow of people on Inauguration Day was as organized as an event involving half a million people could be. The assembly of Orange Gate ticket holders was as wide as First Ave., NW. By the time I reached the metal detectors just below the Robert A. Taft Memorial and Carillon, I had been waiting for more than two hours. For security purposes, we were told by officials to leave our cell phones and cameras on while we passed through the metal detectors.
Once through, I made my way up the lawn of the Capitol to the North Standing Area and found a sparse spot among some holly and rose bushes. The picture below is from that spot.
A few friends laughed at the picture saying it looks as if it were an inaugural address for one. Though when President Obama spoke, it almost did seem like he was talking to everyone individually. It was a beautiful speech, and I’m glad to say that I had tickets to this once in a lifetime event. He spoke of hope, faith and brighter days ahead. Cheers to that.
I ended my trip with a visit to Gettysburg; the perfect bookend to a weekend that will go down in history.