And here’s a section of this photo: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/HDView/gigapans/ObamaDay.html
Now that I’m home I have a moment to download my photos and write a bit more about the experience.
The whole experience was mind-blowing. We were in the section next to the friends and family group. Oprah was about 20 feet to our left – as were Samuel L. Jackson, Will Smith, and many other famous folks. Jamie Lee Curtis was a few rows behind us (and was very friendly with everyone – including a bit of dancing that was done by a group trying to stay warm).
While waiting, a man came along handing out HD Flip Video players. He asked us to take videos and email them to him – with the best ones getting on CBS with Katie Couric. The man introduced himself as Jon. After Eric opened the sack, he saw that the card was for “Jonathan Kaplan – Chairperson and CEO”. “Suzi, I wonder if this is the same Jon as the person handing out the devices” Eric asked. So – I tracked him back down and asked and, sure enough he was/is. I complimented the design and invited him back to meet Eric. I don’t know why, but I asked if he was a wine drinker – he was. I asked him if he had heard of Cellartracker. In fact, he was an early adopter of cellartracker! We had more interactions with him – including helping him give Oprah an Obama-branded FlipVideo.
Why this long story about Jonathan? Because it exemplifies the amazing people we met throughout the campaign and even throughout the inauguration.
Here’s a video looking all the way around as seats were filling up.
When the inauguration actually began, it was impressively swift – and powerful. Much has already been written about it – so I’ll simply complement some of those comments with additional thoughts and perspectives:
I was impressed that there were no cheers for Rick Warren. Personally, I was also disappointed – of course in the fact that he was chosen – but also in his denominational prayer. Okay – so he did include the language of the Sh’ma (hear o israel, the lord is god, the lord is one) – but then he did the lord’s prayer and talked about Jesus. I had been self-consciously thinking that I shouldn’t have gotten my knickers in a knot about it but, interestingly, the driver of the car on my way home tonight from the airport (wasn’t Jewish) also called this out and suggested that he shouldn’t have done it. Personally, I believe that they should seek a more common denominator prayer – like the fantastic one that Rev. Lowry did for the closing (with a very funny parody of Rev. Lowry from Jon Stewart including rhyming minutae and fuschia).
Obama’s speech was compassionate, forceful, actionable and lofty. So phenomenal!
My very favorite line in his speech: “We will be willing to extend a hand if you are willing to unclench a fist”. My friend Carrie’s favorite section: including nurturing a child in our GDP calculations.
Here is a gallery of photos from the swearing in itself.
Lastly – read what my nephew, Houston, had to say from Spain where he watched the swearing in on Al Jazeera: http://tapaszaragoza.blogspot.com/2009/01/watching-inauguration-on-al-jazeera.html