In the Crowd for Obama's Inauguration: One Reaction

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"Woman on Obama Inauguration," from Cheryl Contee on Vimeo.

Above here’s a great video prayer for Barack Obama from a woman I encountered in front of the jam-packed National Museum of African Art yesterday. I think it matches the feelings of many but perhaps better expressed than most.

Today, I managed, after walking for miles, to find a spot on the National Mall among the sea of people watching the inauguration. We all struggled to peer through all the heads to see a Jumbotron. The crowd was mostly friendly, although tempers did flare several times at checkpoints and when standing. The crowds were thick, and emotions were running high. It was sometimes difficult to move, and there were times when I literally feared being trampled or simply crushed without the ability to breathe.

When arguments started between black people, other black folks would call out -- "Not Today!" "Let It Go!" "Obama!" The entire throng of people -- millions -- booed when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were announced and erupted in happy cheers when Michelle and Barack Obama entered the scene. The crowd was boisterous during the first part of the program and thrilled by Aretha Franklin's rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Many voices joined Rick Warren’s Lord's Prayer. We all laughed when the announcer told us we could be seated -- for all but a very few, there were no seats for miles on end. We were all charmed when Obama stumbled a bit, nervously, over his oath of office. Even more striking was the silence of millions of people, rich and poor, young and old, singles and familes, multihued when Obama began his speech. Only one voice could be heard for miles and miles, ringing through the hearts of all who strained to hear the man's words. There were several places in Obama's incredibly powerful and moving speech where the crowd spontaneously cheered that also happen to be among my favorite parts:


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