ON INTERSTATE 295 OUTSIDE WASHINGTON, 6:06 p.m. — I’m back on the Af-Am House bus, and all of the other Yalies have returned, too. Many are already sprawled across their bus seats and have fallen asleep.
On one bus, a group of students have cut into the celebratory cake that they brought down with them. Despite the crushing crowds and frigid temperatures, spirits are still high, undoubtedly uplifted by the occasion and atmosphere.
WASHINGTON, 9:55 a.m. — As a native of California, I can no longer take the weather and am taking refuge in the Smithsonian until about 11 a.m. And I’m not the only one with the idea.
In fact, there is a line to get in, and hot dog stands are price-gouging. The initial excitement here seems to be giving way to exhaustion and hypothermia — but Obama’s presence should cure all. He is still wildly cheered when his name is mentioned on the jumbotrons.
WASHINGTON, 5:45 p.m. — Connecticut’s congressional delegation hosted a welcome event for visitors to the Capitol in the ornate Caucus room of the Russell Senate Office Building. In attendance was the entire delegation and leaders from throughout the state, including New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr.
WASHINGTON, 1:00 a.m. — Tom Hanks’ invocation of Lincoln, Tiger Woods’ tribute to the military and Forest Whitaker’s appraisal of the American artist all drew polite applause in comparison to the wild cheers that met Jamie Foxx’s impression of President-elect Obama’s victory speech. Yet, this paled in comparison to the wild jubilation given to Obama himself.
Yesterday afternoon, 37 renowned celebrities, 12,000 portable restrooms, and an estimated 400,000 Americans from all over the country attended “We Are One,” the official opening ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.
The two-hour event, held at the Lincoln Memorial at the National Mall here in Washington, was broadcast live by HBO and included performers such as Bruce Springsteen, U2 and the Black Eyed Peas. President-elect Obama, Vice-President-elect Joe Biden and their respective families were also in attendance, creating a cornucopia of stardom that drove the crowd into a frenzy and made the Washington cold a little more bearable.