Today was my first day back from Washington D.C. I was one of the local police officers that got sent to help with security for the Presidential Inauguration. It was amazing! Also, insanely cold! We arrived after a very long bus ride on Sunday afternoon. We had some free time after checking into the hotel so we went downtown. After getting off the metro, not knowing where we were going, we started walking away from the National Mall by accident. It turned out to be a good accident after the singer/actor Common walked right past us on the sidewalk like a normal person! He is one good looking man! After that we got turned around and headed down to the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall. The masses were heading out after the concert but there was still a huge amount of people there. Even on that day, you could feel the energy and hope of everyone around.
Monday we were deputized as Special Deputies with the US Marshals and received special Inauguration badges. Talk about a keepsake. We had more free time that evening so a group of us went to Georgetown to walk around and visit a few of the local establishments.
The big day started out at 11am as we left the hotel and headed for our posts at the Commander in Chief Military Ball at the National Building Museum. It just so happened that the National Police Memorial was located directly behind the museum so we got to spend a little time there looking around. Having never been there before, I looked up several members of our department whose names are carved in the stone. It was a very sad, sobering moment to see all those names of officers who have been killed just doing their jobs. There’s just so many names, so many lives lost.
We attended a briefing and got paired up with officers from the Metropolitan Police Department and received our traffic post locations. What a long day it turned out to be for most of our group, standing out in the cold. The ball didn’t start until evening and the Vice President and President weren’t scheduled to appear until several hours later. I was fortunate enough to be assigned to another supervisor who had access to a cruiser to drive around and check on traffic and post locations. This put me in a great spot when the motorcades left the ball. The Vice President arrived first and when they left, drove right past out post. It’s very impressive to see the motorcades as they drive through town with their police and secret service escorts. I could even see VP Biden in the car as they drove past. We were just as lucky as the President left in a very similar location. I waited for the second car in the motorcade and watched as it passed right alongside the car I was in. This time, Michelle Obama was sitting in the passenger side of the car. Although the windows were very darkly tinted, I could easily see her inside of the vehicle because of all the lights. That moment was pretty exciting and I’m glad I got to see them on the big day.
What a trip! I am very blessed to have been able to attend the Inauguration and am grateful for the experience. I made sure to enjoy it that much more for my family and friends that could not attend.