Published 10:43 pm Sunday, January 18, 2009
a part of history
Inauguration Day promises to be a momentous occasion in our country’s 200-plus history.
And many locals are making sure they don’t miss the event.
Local politicians, community leaders, average Joes and high-school students will brave the masses Tuesday for a chance to see Barack Obama become the 44th president of the United States of America. It’s an experience they likely will never forget.
That is if they’ve made it to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., in time to witness Obama being sworn in at noon sharp.
Traffic into the capital city on Interstate 95 moves at a snail’s crawl during rush hour — and at many other unexpected times. Usually, the main culprits for the gridlock are fender-benders and rubber-neckers ever so curious to see why some person they will never see again got pulled over for speeding or some other traffic infraction.
But Tuesday, rush hour will come extra early and stay extra late as hundreds of thousands of people pour into the city.
We hope that all of our local folks who made the trek to the nation’s capital will have already set up camp by this morning and meticulously mapped out their escape routes from the city for use tomorrow. Lord knows, they’ll need them.
We admire and commend these brave souls for their willingness to dig into the parade-route trenches and possibly catch a glimpse of Obama as he passes by them during the Inauguration Day parade. There is sure to be a lot of “Is that him?” and disappointed responses like “No, it’s just Joe Biden.”
But in all seriousness, many folks we have talked to feel it’s not all about seeing the first-ever black president. It’s about being part of history, being part of one singular moment that will never happen again.
It’s about being able to tell your grandchildren: “Yes, I was at President Obama’s inauguration.”
And, of course, they will offer a cute comment like, “Was he nice?”
And it’s not just about the swearing in and the parade. Bruce Springsteen is playing at free concert today for the president. How cool is that? Many people would pay hundreds of dollars to see the pride of New Jersey in the flesh.
And check out this lineup that will join him on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for the “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration” concert extravaganza: Bono, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, John Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher, Shakira, James Taylor, will.i.am and Stevie Wonder.
Wow, now that’s a real-deal all-day rock festival.
The star-studded show starts at 2 p.m. and will last through the night. We wonder what kind of mess the District of Columbia is going to have to clean up after that little shindig. Perhaps they will leave the Lincoln Memorial still standing … we mean sitting.
The Daily News wishes everyone safe travels during days leading up to the inauguration and afterward, especially to those in the thick of things. We look forward to stories from “Original Washingtonians” about their travels and travails in the other Washington, and maybe, just maybe, a photograph or two of Obama’s outstretched hand waving from his stretch limo.
Now, to those in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration, stop reading the newspaper and go rock out with The Boss, not Obama but Springsteen.