The official blog of the 2009 inauguration in Washington DC through the eyes of Andrew Spear, Kristin Majcher, and Johnny Simon. 

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Monday, January 19, 2009


Today the preparations for tomorrow's swearing-in ceremony and parade were visible on every street. But while workers are putting up makeshift walls to close off the streets, ideological barriers are being torn down. Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day, which commemorates the March on Washington 46 years ago. People that we have talked to all seem to have the same opinion: equality is imminent, but there still is a lot of work to be done.

As predicted, the crowds keep growing, and we've met people from all over the place. The positive atmosphere seems to be attributed to two things: The first day of Obama's presidency, and George Bush getting out of town. The parting words of one man I talked to from Indiana were "Now I have to go move George out the White House." A woman from Dayton said that she met people on the Mall from as far away as Peru and we chatted with a woman who flew here all the way from France. The fact that people from faraway lands are showing up for this event proves that the scope of this event is not limited to the capitol, or even the country - it's something being celebrated by people all over the world. This kind of overwhelming support is kind of bizzaire when compared to the kind of reaction that so many other countries have had towards us in the past few years, but nobody in this city seems to notice. It seems like everyone just wants a fresh start, and the general consensus is that we'll be getting one tomorrow.

Today we picked up our tickets from Ohio Congressman Charlie Wilson's office in The Cannon Building. Basically, there are three congressional office buildings and three senate buildings in the center of town, and all sorts of people were flocking there to get their tickets. The lines were huge by noon, but we ended up finding a short line via the side door. But by the time we came out, 1st & C and the surrounding streets were completely swamped with eager people from all over the place who had managed to score the most sought-after tickets of the year. Call me optimistic, but watching ordinary citizens cramming into metal detectors to gain access into big, important government buildings seemed like democracy in action. Oh yeah, and for the record, California definitely had the best brunch in the building.

Apparently there are 240,000 swearing-in tickets, and 3,000 for the parade route. We weren't important enough to score seats, so that means we'll have to fight for room behind the reflecting pool. Yes, although congressmen were nice enough to give out tickets to their loyal constituents, there's not going to be enough room for all of us. This means leaving Noah's row house in Parkview around 5 a.m.. We've abolished plans to take the metro In fear of being packed like sardines in a crushed tin box, and the only alternative is an hour walk downtown in the frigid, dark morning before the sun even comes up. We're planning on leaving tomorrow night to go back to Ohio, as we all have to be ready for class on Wednesday. This is basically going to be the longest day any of us have had for a long, long time, but we all agree that it's totally worth it.

If you haven't noticed already, we've been doing portraits and Q&As with people we're meeting. Most of this is because no matter how much I can talk about what we're seeing, nothing seems to convey what an amazing experience this is like personal stories. So expect a full account of the inaugural events tomorrow, as well as more of these profiles.

Here you can watch the swearing-in ceremony online, which starts at noon. After that, the parade starts at noon. And this webpage has some historical information on inaugural events.

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Andrew Spear

Andrew Spear
Andrew Spear is a Midwest-based photographer currently studying photojournalism at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication. A junior in the program, Andrew is also a staff photographer at The Athens NEWS, in Athens, Ohio. He splits his time between Athens and Cleveland, his hometown. Please click the image to view Andrew's portfolio. (Photo courtesy of Matt Eich)

Kristin Majcher

Kristin Majcher
Kristin Majcher is a junior studying magazine journalism at Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Communication. Currently a staff writer at The Athens NEWS, she has also worked with The Post (Athens, Ohio) and Cleveland Magazine. She splits her time between Athens and her hometown of Cleveland.

Johnny Simon

Johnny Simon
Johnny Simon is a Midwest-based photographer currently enrolled as a senior photojournalism major at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. His work has been regcognized by the Southern Short Course in News Photography, NoTxt Magazine, the Corcoran Gallery FOCUS on Photojournalism and his adoring parents. Please click the image to see Johnny's portfolio.
All content © 2009 Andrew Spear, Kristin Majcher, Johnny Simon, and The Athens NEWS.

No reproduction without permission of the authors under penalty of law.