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Eagle Valley High, live from the inauguration

Ashley Weaver
newsroom@vaildaily.com
Eagle County, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyEagle Valley High School social studies teacher Ashley Weaver gets on the shoulders of senior Joe Ford in front of the Washington Monument. Ford was the first person to sign up for the trip back in August. He ran to the bank and withdrew his deposit money as soon as he heard about the opportunity.
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I hope you got to see some of the coverage of this historic event at some point today.

As President Obama is walking to his house, we have just arrived at our house (hotel) just eight blocks away. We’re watching the parade on TV ” we had to make the decision to view the ceremony or the parade; obviously we chose the swearing-in. I have had various plans for today that I have been contemplating for months and it couldn’t have turned out any better.

We left the hotel at 6 a.m. and walked 1.8 miles to the Lincoln Memorial. After the concert on Sunday and seeing the Jumbotrons and sound system they had set up, we thought that would be the best place to view the events of the day.

The most significant aspect was the fact that we were sitting at the feet of Lincoln ” the man who issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves ” as our first African-American President was Inaugurated. The historical significance was amazing.

I had heard that crowds started to gather nearby to enter the mall area at 4 a.m. But, as we came over the knoll that looks onto the reflecting pool and the Lincoln memorial, we saw there were only a few people milling about the memorial at about 6:40 a.m. I was so excited!

We staked our claim and then I split the kids into two groups and took them to see the Korean Memorial, which we hadn’t seen yet. The other half kept our spots and then we switched.

A recording from the concert on Sunday was playing while we waited and then more and more people gathered ” some just to take a peak at Lincoln, some to take a seat. The kids figured out that if they held up their “Obama Loves Colorado” sign (Karina bought the supplies last night and Whitney and Kelsey helped make them) – people would take pictures of them ” that provided a couple hours of entertainment.

People around were super friendly as everyone has been this whole week. Yes, we were cold but we probably had the best place in the entire mall for comfort. We made the discovery that there is a small museum under the memorial with heat, bathrooms, hand dryers and no lines! That basically saved the day. What a blessing!

And of course there was amazing energy and excitement all around, as there has been the whole time. We couldn’t see anything on the Jumbotrons, but we could hear everything. The kids were pumped!

Afterwards we avoided crowds and went to Arlington Cemetery to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and John F. Kennedy’s grave, and then made a “reverse commute” on the metro to our hotel.

Cathy, Camryn and I were astounded how we avoided all crowds. We honestly had a worse time yesterday at Union Station than we did today. Absolutely no crowds to deal with. How did that happen?

Anyway, I wanted to give you guys the inside scoop. Thanks for your support for these kids and this absolutely incredible experience that they are having! We have a couple sick kids, and 54 sore feet, but all is well.


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