Last January (2008) I flew back to Washington D.C. over Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend to visit my son, Jake. Normally I work on MLK Day because I'm a fat white guy who is part of the ethnic group that made it necessary for leaders like Dr. King to have to speak out. In my warped way of thinking, I've believed the best way to honor Dr. King is for me to work on his day. Last year was the exception. I went to D.C. and attended a cool event at the National Cathedral with Jake in honor of Dr. King.
For my birthday in October, Jake got me a $50 gift certificate from Southwest Airlines and suggested I should come back for a visit over MLK weekend in January of 2009. In late October, I checked out prices and snagged a ticket to fly back to D.C. on January 15th and return on the 22nd.
Then it hit me! MLK Day is Monday, January 19th and the inauguration is the next day, January 20th! Maybe I could go to the inauguration!
The day after the election, I wrote Congressman Peter Defazio's office and requested tickets to the inauguration. They were nice enough to respond but were careful to point out that they had received a slug of requests. I completed the application process and waited.
This Tuesday I got an email from his office saying, in part, "We received over 1,000 requests from constituents of the Fourth Congressional District of Oregon to attend his inauguration! Yesterday my office held our lottery for tickets to the 2009 Presidential Inauguration Swearing-in Ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama and your name was selected. Congratulations. You will be receiving 2 tickets to the Inauguration."
Out of 1,000+ requests (which, like mine, were for multiple tickets) I got two tickets! (One for me and one for Jake!) Oh sure, we'll be standing on the National Mall, freezing out butts off with a few million others BUT we will at least be in the roped off area nearest the Capitol with 250,000 of our closest friends! (That's how many tickets Congress had available to give out.)
The email also asked for some additional information, including a request for me to "list any disabilities that would require you to have a seated ticket." I couldn't come up with one that seemed legit enough but my BFF (And I don't mean Barack Obama) asked, "Isn't being a flaming liberal considered a disability???? Apparently not but, even still, could the whole thing be any cooler?
Actually, yes! An "emergency" ordinance was recently passed in D.C. that allows bars to stay open until 5:00 AM during the week of the inauguration. As you know, all good Americans need to get good and liquored up prior to attending a historic event such as the inauguration! (Too bad they have such crappy beer back there!)
In any event, I cannot believe how fortunate I am to be able to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama. Several people have said that I get to see history in the making - and that is exactly how I feel!
I'll be sure to pick up a little something for each of you and will do my best to not embarrass you too badly. Now if I can just figure out how to get an invitation to the MTV Inaugural Ball!