Here’s the juggle. How do you squeeze through a crowd of people who’ve been waiting, shivering for hours to see a glimpse of history?
We got stuck at several check points. A secret service guy told a horde of frustrated people that the magnetometers didn’t arrive. We finally got another agent to escort us to where we needed to be. Vendors and sidewalk revelers and huge masses of humanity make for an electric feeling in the air.
Once we finally made it to the Mall, the crowds are jaw-dropping. Everywhere you look, people…a respectful distance away from each other. People are in a really good mood despite the conditions.
Some people just pick a spot and hold on. Kathy Compton of Houston, Texas stood on a piece of cardboard to help keep her feet get warm’ish. “It’s an old girl scout trick,” she smiled. We then interviewed a group of high schoolers from the Presidential Youth Inauguration Conference, 8000 strong, from all over the country… They stayed at a Sheraton in Virginia.. Took buses to DC and walked for an HOUR to get 6 blocks from the Capitol. I told them all to “friend” me on Facebook under “juju juggles”
Using my Flip CAM, I talked to Avery, 10, from Cincinnati who was on a mother daughter trip. They stayed in Georgetown and walked all the way to the Capitol at dawn. As she waved her American flag that ‘someone handed out for free” she said… she said she didn’t mind the sub-freezing cold because of the festival atmosphere of the vendors and the crowds.
Two guys from Atlanta decided at 6:30 last night to drive to DC… By 10p they were on the car, they took turns driving all night… and parked at a metro stop and walked to the Mall. Ryan looked dazed, but was in such a good mood for a guy who had just pulled an all-nighter.
By the time I made it to the trailer, one of the kids from the Pres. Youth Inauguration Conf., Ryan Offit, had already friended me from his cell phone. AMAZING. I’m tweet-ing on Twitter under jujujuggles, too. But because 2 million of my closest friends are doing the same thing from the Mall… the cell sites are jammed. I’m doing it from the ABC trailer.
As Barack Obama is sworn into office… and the crowd… each one with a harrowing story of their journey here…could not be happier.