A Boutique Portrait Experience
Free concert, themed “We Are One”, at the Lincoln Memorial, celebrating the Inauguration. Come and bring a few hundred thousand of your closest friends. OK.
The concert starts at 2:30. Realizing this is also dress rehearsal for Inaugural security, I arrive at 10:00 am, camera in hand.
The Capitol is beautifully dressed, draped in red, white and blue. Thousands are already there, families and tour groups, photographing the preparations and heading slowly toward the Lincoln, at the other end of the Mall.
You know me, I wander, admiring the city and collecting images of details that catch my eye. Next stop, the White House, looking normal on one side and hidden by parade viewing stands on the other.
I follow the incredible flow of the crowd toward the Lincoln. Kind of a parade of our own. The sidewalks are jammed with people, and lined with vendors offering what has been called Obamabelia. Shirts, pins, calendars, dolls, bookmarks, posters, it’s all there. (My personal favorite, the green shirt with O’Bama and a shamrock.)
It offers a kind of window shopping while the lines move slowly, but what I notice most are the smiles. Everyone is smiling at each other. Everyone. No pushing or complaining, just a steady streaming toward the security tents, and smiles.
Inside the security area, I am amazed the sheer number of people, and the easygoing atmosphere. Crowds stream by, and hardly notice as three Marine One helicopters circle overhead. I can’t make out who is inside, but they seem to be taking a photograph.
I get pretty close to the front, but discover that with the Jumbotrons and on-stage cameras the view is better farther back, so back I go. We do The Wave to keep warm.
As the concert starts, lines of soldiers quietly step in and say,” this area is closed. No moving closer to the stage.” Concert goers walk up and say, “I am just meeting my friends.” The soldier smiles and shakes his head.
The concert is fun, with James Taylor getting a nice sing along going, with ‘Shower the People you Love with Love’ but Garth Brooks really fires things up with ‘American Pie ‘and ‘Shout.’
Tens of thousands are thronged outside the security area, jammed in trees and enjoying the show from the tv screens. They sing along and smile. The President Elect comes to the podium and crowd erupts in wild applause. As the final song begins, the crowd surges toward the metro.
The streets are still jammed, still loaded with vendors, and the crowds are still smiling. I have a quote from Mother Teresa;
“Peace begins with a smile.”
Perhaps We Are One, after all.