Right now I’m looking at live pictures on CNN, of folks who’ve been arriving on the National Mall since 4 a.m.

People of all different creeds and races, all clad in head-to-toe coats and boots and warmth to get them through the temperatures in Washington DC today. One of my Twitter friends (can’t recall which) said, she’d never seen so many black women in full length fur coats in her life. I hope those are faux, ladies!

From the comfort of my Miami living room in my favorite stretchy yoga pants, I can’t that I envy anyone who’s standing in the wintry cold right now. But all week I’ve been vacillating between acceptance that I can’t be in DC, and frustration with the circumstances that kept me away.

I’d be a lying bella if I said I didn’t feel occasional pangs of regret and dammit-I-should-BE-THERE! If you’re a blogger or just an Afrobella reader who’s in the place to be, please send me your blog posts or photos or whatever you’d like to share. I’d love to include links to what you’re experiencing!

Whether you’re witnessing history up close in person, at a crowded public venue, or from the comfort of your home today — you can’t deny how special this is. To observe the oft-seen landmarks of Washington DC surrounded by people gathered to witness such a significant moment, simply fills my heart with emotions I struggle to express.

For someone who prides herself on her words, finding yourself speechless is difficult. But right now, I feel practically verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves! The topic: Are you in Washington DC today? Where will you be watching, and how will you be celebrating? How do you feel on this long-awaited inauguration day?

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Wes says:
January 20, 2009, 10:01 am
Aww don't feel bad Bella! My mom & I actually just GOT home from a failed attempt at getting to the inauguration (we missed the bus!)... I really didn't want to stand out there in that frigid cold but my mom did and I felt bad that she couldn't. But I always say: everything happens for a reason.
Athena says:
January 20, 2009, 10:08 am
I wish I was there too. DC is so close, but so far away (about three hours). Just looking at the TV I feel so overwhelmed. When he was elected I cried. It was more for my 100 year old great grandmother, my grandparents and my parents, but I guess now I feel it for me too. Someday when I have kids I can tell them where where I was when it happened, what it meant and what else we still need to accomplish.
Sabrina97 says:
January 20, 2009, 10:10 am
I'll be on my couch with my pearls (Go Michelle) living vicariously through my brother, who is there. I have some travel for work in two weeks, so I didn't want to take the chance. I am not at work, though. I didn't want to listen to the event on FauxNews and listen to the peanut gallery...
Olivia says:
January 20, 2009, 11:50 am
Today is an exciting day also its a day to reflect. I'm at home with my mum, we bought wine and cake to celebrate the day. My friends went to DC for this event. Its a step in the right direction. I woke up this morning praying, thanking God for this day. We have so much to be thankful for ya'll. As a young lady I feel inspired. I just feel a new sense of energy inside. Now I'm wishing I was there as well..
styleosophy says:
January 20, 2009, 3:14 pm
I was just fine watching from a good distance, in Chicago. Too many people for me...but I felt just as close, I had a good view from the TV.
Brandi says:
January 20, 2009, 5:47 pm
I was supposed to go to DC but decided against it. I'm not a fan of crowds, cold, security drama, etc. So instead, I watched it at work on a huge plasma tv with popcorn. It was just cozy enough. I will always remember this day as being very special, regardless of my physical location.
SoFrolushes says:
January 20, 2009, 6:03 pm
Today is my birthday and I hoped I could travel across seas to witness in the flesh this historic event. Didnt really get to watch the full even today as its my day too. But I will catch the highlights. I know that the world is watching and wondering what President Obama is going to do 1st or next!!!
tanya says:
January 20, 2009, 6:43 pm
I agree with some of the other commenters; it doesn't really matter physically where we are/were. I went to school today and watched the inauguration with some of my fellow students and professors. I'm just happy that I got the opportunity to witness this historic event. And it happened in our lifetime! Craziness! I'm also glad I get to share this feeling with all you bellas.
Ebonys says:
January 20, 2009, 9:31 pm
I watched the inauguration on television with colleagues at my internship. I wanted to be there, but alas...school got in the way. Right now I am watching Denzil introduce the President of the United States of America. And trust me Michelle just scored another 10 for that dress!!
lilone says:
January 21, 2009, 1:43 am
I live close to the white house so my cousin and little sisters crashed with me so we could walk. We left at 4 AM! People were already walking down and we actually got a great spot on the Mall in front of one of the closer jumbo-trons. Around 7 am... reality hit. Fingertips were freezing under multiple pairs of gloves and none of us could feel our toes! LOL Warming tents were a joke so we thought we could leave but the crowd forming behind us and the newly blocked off roads led to an all day walk around all the parade entrances just to get back to my side of town. We were freezing! But it was absolutely worth every bit of it and I'm glad we actually walked. Ticketholders were lined up at every checkpoint ALL DAY. The crowd was crazy. It was easier for the general public who woke up early to get on the mall. We walked right past John Legend! (And his boo) I looked him dead in the face, gasped, and couldn't speak lol! We caught the ceremony in a nice warm bar facing one the parade checkpoint for the area closest to the White House. Everyone was in great spirits! I'm sure we walked at least 5 miles instead of the 20 minute walk we could have had without all the blockades. But it was wonderful, Bella, just to be there and see SO MANY people (and yes so many fur coats) come together for one purpose. Being in DC was not a joke, we definitely underestimated what we were getting into. It was inspiring how many elderly people braved the conditions for a moment they felt they had to experience first hand. But I think the beauty of this great day could be felt everywhere no matter how you were witnessing it :) Motrin and sleep here I come!
Joyce says:
January 21, 2009, 9:50 am
With regards to the The First Lady's outfit for the Inauguration - IT SPOKE VOLUMES, HER POISE AND STYLE WAS UTTERLY CAPTIVATING, and as a Black Woman of AFRO-Caribbean descent to me her statement said "WE HAVE ARRIVED" God Bless You First Lady! Here in Britain that historic moment(the inauguration) was not only for our counterparts in America, as an Afro- Caribbean Briton, I felt that the triumph was ours as well. This is something all black people everywhere on this earth can enjoy. THIS IS FOR ALL OF US. God Bless the President of the United States of America!
Chanel says:
January 21, 2009, 9:47 pm
I was there! It was so damn cold but amazing :)
Trene says:
January 22, 2009, 12:29 am
Absolutely amazing! My family and I rose at 3:30 and began our journey from a suburb in Maryland to DC. We heard the highway was backed up for about 3 miles! Luckily I live right down the road from the subway station. We arrived to a line of people waiting to enter the subway station that had three rows going down a parking lot that is about two city blocks. After about 30 minutes we were on the train. I can't quite explain how excited and joyous everyone was. The train was crowded but there wasn't a stranger among us. Everyone instantly began chatting with the folks around them talking strategy to get on the Mall and tips for staying warm for several hours. I met people from California, Georgia, Chicago, New Jersey and Philadelphia withing four seats of my own. When we finally made it to the Mall the jumbo screens were replaying Sunday's free concert at the Lincoln Memorial. We all sang along and danced to keep warm. I can't say that the fellowship and joy kept me warm but it was a great distraction from the chilly morning. We were all relieved when the sun began to rise and shone brightly across the mall. So many accents were heard! You know people from around the world stood with you as many were in the native garb or carrying halting conversations with new friends. But the pride of Americans was strong and we invited foreigners to join us in song. We sang the Black National Anthem, America the Beautiful and many others. I've never experienced anything quite like it before. The older black men and women had looks of absolute joy. We've had over two months to get used to the idea of Barack as president but yesterday reminded you it was real. So many waved American flags and I heard young people say they had never held a flag before. A surge of new patriots were born! Needless to say, as soon as Arethia began singing the tears began and never stopped! Barack had us in his hand and Rev. Lowery brought it home. You should have heard the cheers as soon as Michelle was on the screen. Men and women admired her and melted as soon as we saw Sasha and Malia with grandma. There was resounding boos for Bush and chants of Obama as soon as his limo arrived. We almost went crazy as he began walking through the Capitol looking so smooth and calm. Yesterday, I became a proud American and I woke up this morning with the feeling swelling inside me still. I really don't ever want to let it go. Here's a picture of my mom, one of the many black women proudly wearing their furs (faux!): http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=33140644&l=95daf&id=8905536 My sisters,boyfriend and an older sister from church: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=33140643&l=96fae&id=8905536
flygyrl72 says:
January 22, 2009, 1:32 pm
I had inaugural tickets & the whole experience was surreal & effin freezing, but so so awesome, nevertheless. Meant to wake up at 3:30am, but too much partyin the night before, so overslept & got to the Metro station (stayed w/ a friend in Capitol Hts., MD) about 5:45am. Blue line Train was packed. But everyone was so friendly & excited, the atmosphere was definitely kum-bayah... Got off at Capitol South, the line to get out of the Metro station onto the streets took about 10 minutes, it was just folks everywhere. Workers were there once we departed the station to direct ticket/non-ticket holders on where to go & if you did have a ticket, you had to go to the color coded gate entrance on your ticket (mine was in the Blue Standing section West) Once in line, chatted with folks, captured footage on my Mino flip camcorder & just tried to stay warm! Impossible. Now, I'm from Chicago originally, even though I live in LA now & really thought I was prepared, had my thermals on, two pairs of socks, insulated boots, thick gloves, hat, big ass parka, etc. I was still cold, mind-numbingly so, after about an hour. I don't think I've ever been that cold for such an extended amt. of time...LOL... Some people couldn't take it & left, even though they had tickets, I saw one guy just hand his to a passerby & leave. That cold was gripping, man! They started to let people in the gates around 9:15am or so (although it was supposed to start exactly at 9am), but can I tell you, there was NO line/crowd control for all of these people. Seriously, I could've just lifted my feet off the ground & been carried along by the crowd. The sheer number of people all trying to move forward/stay warm/gain entrance just gave all of us ever forward momemtum. So lucky that everyone was just so infused with goodwill for their fellow man, because it was a situation waiting to happen, let me tell you. God forbid if anyone had of fallen, it wouldn't have been pretty... When I heard about all those ticket holders who ended up not being allowed in, I wasn't surprised. Now, I know that there's no way they could ever really prepare totally for such a momentous unprecedented event, especially given the massive amts of people, but still, they really could've done a much better job with controlling the admittance onto the grounds. Oh well, live & learn, I guess. They checked bags at the gate & you had to unbutton your coat & any layers completely (yikes, so cold that part, but necessary, I know). They made a lot of people leave bottled water, etc. at the gate & also, they made folks leave their little American flags that people were waving. Funniest thing though, once I was inside, I wasn't cold anymore. I found a spot on the lawn around one of the jumbotrons, since I could see kind of from the side where I was at, but was still too far away from the stage to make out any facial features, etc of Barack & company... And I can't front, I got such a delicious thrill from hearing everyone boo the hell outta Bush when he was announced. That made me laugh so HARD... Some photog guy there took some photos of me & I returned the favor for him & his wife. He was from Chi too, we exchanged info & he's supposed to email me the photos soon. Look forward to getting them. In all, it was great, the air was just charged with excitement. So so glad & so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it all. Still in DC, don't leave out til tonight, but am SO looking forward to getting back to Los Angeles & the mild temps, LOL...
LL says:
January 22, 2009, 8:42 pm
I was blessed to have tickets to both the swearing in and the Neighborhood Ball. Tuesday, was single handly one of the best times of my life. I was one of the people in MD who thought I was too above being in the cold and crowds initially, but I realized it made no sense to be so close to the most historic moment and skip out on it.Especially when so many people would have loved to be there. I started calling my "hook-ups" and finally secured those tickets. If I ever have kids, they are going to get tired of " I was there for the first black President" story!
Nickels says:
January 24, 2009, 8:23 pm
I am still glowing! Please view Pics here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2260999&l=b53cc&id=8208577 http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2261056&l=1bf23&id=8208577
Emily Troutman says:
January 25, 2009, 11:05 pm
Hi Bella, I hope you'll check out my latest blog, b/c I think it will make you feel like you were here :) Over the past week, I asked hundreds of people to pick a word to describe how they feel about Obama's inauguration. I gave them 26 words to choose from including "Hopeful," "Joyful," "Skeptical" and "Angry." Then I took their portrait with the word. The result is this video/photo essay, which is very moving: http://www.emilytroutman.blogspot.com or directly, http://vimeo.com/2895468. If you like it, feel free to embed it on yr blog.
muslimahlocs says:
January 26, 2009, 4:07 am
sorry bella. if you are on facebook look me up. i intend to post some of my pictures over there.
Jonez says:
January 26, 2009, 3:34 pm
Not much pictures to share ... but being there was amazing. I don't think the full magnitude of what I experienced last week has fully hit me yet.
heartsandflowers says:
January 27, 2009, 6:37 pm
Hi, I did one post and I'm still working on another one. My Big Fat Inauguration Recap http://snipurl.com/ak9dv. I'm still trying to catch up with blog posts from last week.
Y M Williams says:
January 28, 2009, 8:07 pm
I could not miss this for nothing in the world. I thank God for the opportunity. I was thrilled by the sheer number of people attending. I saw all of those fur coats myself and some were good Dennis Basso faux fur coats. My sister said PETA would have had a field day had they been here. I told her I do not think they would bother with these women. Anyway we drove for 18 hours and stayed with my sister in MD. My mother even had the opportunity to witness this great moment in America's history in the comfort of my sister's church of course. At one moment we thought we were not going to be allowed into the ceremony because of all of the mix-ups but we did.


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