If words can’t describe it, don’t use them… (Obama Inauguration sights and sounds!)

History Column
Photos, videos, audio and words by Nathan Mattise

Barack Obama has been President for 14 days. Wrap your mind around that. It’s hard to believe history is that fresh but simultaneously moving on already (Google “Guantanamo Bay” or “Economic Stimulus” for more details).

Perhaps the Inauguration feels like it was yesterday because I was fortunate enough to attend. With all of the meticulous planning, physical travel and emotional build-up, the event itself was monumental to the point that it consumed the greater part of two weeks in my life. I still have people who want to know every single detail about the experience when I casually mention my trip. Honestly, regardless of what you think of my writing or communication skills, this is one instance where I’m truly at a loss and words can’t accurately describe the scene, the excitement, the sense of something greater, etc. Rather than trying to sum up the once-in-a-lifetime trip, I’m opting to allow the images to speak for themselves.

Starting with the moment everyone was there to see…

Witnessing those two minutes among the hordes of other ecstatic Americans is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. The sheer amount of people, all seemed genuinely thrilled, still baffles me. I can’t begin to fathom how many folks were in D.C. to see this one guy in this one moment – heck, major news outlets can’t begin to fathom it either. No matter where you were (entering or leaving D.C., traveling the streets, in rest room lines, certainly in the viewing areas) you were directly pressed against people on all sides like you were grinding away at some concert.

To get an idea of the flow of this traffic, check out my view both traveling in and leaving the Metro Station. Consider also the distance and time of these trips:

From my Metro Entry to my viewing area

and then from there to my Metro Exit:

Both trips on foot took more than an hour despite being two miles or less. The amount of walking gave plenty of time for political sight-seeing however…


But ultimately, the real sight was the one up above. History doesn’t slap you in the face and say “pay attention, this is extremely important” too often, but when millions of people are chanting a single name at a single moment for a single purpose…it’s chilling (and not in the Syracuse, N.Y. sense).

(Links today from YouTube, SlideShare, Google Maps and and CNN.com)

If you want to yell at Nate for the time delay with this content, e-mail him. It’s totally justified.

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2 Comments

Filed under Columns, History

2 responses to “If words can’t describe it, don’t use them… (Obama Inauguration sights and sounds!)

  1. AJ

    The word you’re thinking of is:

    ineffable

  2. One more reason for me to invest in a better thesaurus – well said.

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