CRI’s Mendez attends second Obama inauguration

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CRI’s Mendez Attends Second Obama Inauguration

Written by  Jennifer Mendez, Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) vice president of government relations

Posted: 24 Jan 2013 03:30 AM PST |

Living in Washington, DC offers opportunities that no other city allows. I live inside the Capitol Beltway, so I can be on Capitol Hill in less than 15 minutes, traffic permitting. I believe in taking advantage of every unique opportunity that living in the DC metropolitan area offers.

When my daughter was young, we attended several White House Easter Egg Rolls and when President Reagan died, we waited in line for 5 hours to pay our respects as he lay in state at the US Capitol.

This past inaugural weekend was no exception. It was full of festivities and I engaged wholeheartedly! Sunday evening I attended the Virginia Inaugural Ball.  Held a mere four miles from my house, the ball was a fun opportunity to dress up and celebrate with a little champagne and a lot of dancing.

But the balls are nothing compared to the pageantry of the swearing-in ceremony!

A friend shared his tickets to the seated viewing area on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The cold didn’t chill the spirit of the nearly 1,000,000 who ventured into the city and onto the National Mall to witness history being made.  My seat was approximately 70 yards from the Inaugural Platform where President Obama and Vice President Biden were sworn in… that was close, considering the crowd stretched for literally blocks down the National Mall.

Performers included children’s choirs from Staten Island, New York and a choral group from Cleveland, Tennessee, big names like Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson, but the crowd wasn’t there to see them. They were there to see President Obama take the oath of office.

I’ve witnessed several swearing-in ceremonies in person, and I feel strongly that, no matter your political affiliation, it is a wonderful ceremony to witness.  To be surrounded by so many people who want to share and be a part of the experience is humbling.  Having lived outside of the United States, I am aware that we have so much to be proud of here at home, and much for which to be thankful – our political process among the first.

After the president was sworn in, I (and a million of my closest friends) headed from the Capitol toward the White House (I skipped the gym, knowing I’d be hoofing all over DC).

I was invited to view the parade from inside an office close to the White House — a lovely treat, since the temperatures were in the 30s. The office, located on the 2nd floor of the Evening Star Building had bay windows which offered a great view of the parade.  I was lucky enough to be sitting in the window, with a bird’s eye view, when President and Mrs. Obama chose to get out of their car and walk down the parade route.  Very exciting!

Vice President and Dr. Biden did the same. The parade ran past dark; I stayed until the last band played and the only people in the streets were the thousands of police officers from DC and around the country who had stood in the cold protecting everyone.

It was a busy, exhausting and fun weekend and I’ll look forward to doing it all over again in four years!

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