Day 5: January 18, 2009
Hi, this is Wes. Today, Mom and I went to the Opening Celebration for President Obama's Inauguration at the Lincoln Memorial while Dad and Will moved our stuff over to our friends, the Merkle's, house. The price for our hotel room went $500 higher today. YIKES! So our friends who live right on Capitol Hill, the Merkle's, are nice enough to host us for the rest of the time we're here.
So, anyway, mom and I walked to the Memorial and found our seats. The good news is that we had great seats because we got there early (most people had to stand up). The bad news is that we had to wait for more than two hours in the freezing cold for the show to start. I was so cold that I was begging Mom to leave when the show first started. But she put more handwarmers in my shoes and gloves, and we stayed. (Moral of this story: Be prepared.)
I'm glad we stayed because the show was totally amazing. We were pretty close to the front, so we could see everything. But we also had a jumbotron screen to the side of us so that we could see all of the bands and singers up close.
So, the show started with Bruce Springsteen. That was pretty cool. I've never seen him in person and he was great. Then the Obama's and Bidens were introduced (this picture to the left is of them together waving to the crowd from the stage before they went to their seats.
Then lots of other performers came on. And I mean LOTS! There were people like Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington who talked about past presidents, like Lincoln, Kennedy and Roosevelt and talked about things the Presidents had said and done to give people hope when things were bad.
There were so many bands and singers that I can't remember everyone. Some of them were Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crowe, Beyonce, Usher, James Taylor, Mary J. Blige, and lots more.
However, I only got up out of my seat twice. First, Garth Brooks came on and sang "American Pie" with a big choir. That was awesome. I know every word of that song. But then, they started singing "Shout!" The entire place got up and put their fists in the air for Garth. It was AMAZING! In the picture above, you can see everyone with their fists and cameras in the air while Garth dances across the stage in front of the choir.
The second time I got up out of my seat was for U2. BONO! LIVE! One of the song's they sang was "In the Name of Love"--definitely one of their best songs. This picture of me with U2 in the background. Our seats were actually more over to the center, but mom didn't want to block other people while we took the picture. The next picture is of U2 from our seats. They were amazing.
Yeah, it was freezing cold, but I think it was worth it to get to see all of these great musicians and stars in one place. Also, it was really exciting to see the Obama's and Bidens. Everybody was so happy and excited about the inauguration. I can't wait to see what happens next.
Trivia: The statue of Abraham Lincoln inside the Lincoln Memorial shows one of President Lincoln's hands open and the other in a fist. Many people believe that the sculptor, Chester French, did this as a tribute to his deaf son and to memorialize Lincoln's signing of legislation that allowed the deaf university, Gallaudet, to grant college degrees. It is said that his hands are actually forming his initials, "A" and "L" in American Sign Language.
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