Inauguration brings frost bite, inspiration

Inauguration brings frost bite, inspiration

by Sarah LefeberEditor in Chief

It’s 5 a.m. and I’ve already been awake for four hours. My fingers and toes are already numb from standing in the same spot with a negative ten-degree wind chill.

Hordes of people are gathered around me, some sleeping on the ground, some already exhausting their memory cards, some just simply sitting and waiting. Am I loving it? How couldn’t I? I was at Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration.

Just five days before, my roommates and I had decided to hop on a bus and take the 16-hour trip to D.C. with fifty other strangers from across Iowa. We didn’t know what we were going to do when we get there. We didn’t even know the name of the town that we were staying in. All we knew was that we wanted to be there when the first black president was inaugurated.

We watched the jumbotron screen in front of us, waiting for the first glimpse of the man we had traveled cross-country for. Through the cold and the wind, a definite feeling of pride was beginning to swell in the crowd.

After standing for three more hours, however, I finally sat down on the frozen grass and wondered if it was worth it. I could have just watched it on CNN with the rest of the country.

As the sun came up, so did our spirits. I danced in the line to the port-a-potty to “Twist and Shout” with a complete stranger. I accidently fell on a man walking through the sea of people and he good-naturedly picked me up and set me on my feet, telling me I would always remember the day. Still, we watched the screen and waited.

Then the music started. Helicopters began flying overhead and snipers appeared on the tops of buildings around me. Finally the time had come where we would witness history.

While I’m not one of those people who walked around with Obama stickers on their forehead throughout the election, I can tell you that I have never felt more proud of my country. I watched the swearing-in on the giant screen in front of me. Flags waved, people cried and couples kissed.

While there are a million more memories I can tell you about that day, I’m sure you could guess the rest. It was one that I will never forget and one that I will surely tell my future grandkids about.

What I came away with, however, was a responsibility. I felt something that day that made me realize that this is my country. I was staring at the jumbotron with tears in my eyes because of the ideals that I saw before me. I surely have a responsibility to make it the place that made the people around me cry with pride.

So here I am, staring at another screen, only this time it’s a computer. But I hope what is on this one will change something as well. I don’t know what my role will be in helping the country and the world to better itself. But I do know that telling all of you, just like the inauguration itself, is a start.