The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

A day I will always cherish

A reflection of people’s reactions

I was freezing; my feet were raw. The crowds were intense–sometimes they were so large no one could move except in a collective manner.

In spite of this, yesterday is a day I will cherish. That’s because I got to experience Washington, D.C. during the Inauguration with about two million other people.

I met many people over the past few days. There was the curbside check-in attendant who had been asking everyone he met if they were going to the Inauguration, then couldn’t believe it when I answered “yes.”

There was the flight attendant who made all of us on the flight from DFW to Ronald Reagan International Airport shout if we were going to the Inauguration. Then asked us to do it several more times because she was so excited that the majority of the plane was headed there.

I met many college students from across the nation, each of whom had traveled many miles to get here. Katie Brennan, a 22-year-old from the University of South Florida remarked that she felt “the election of Barack Obama will help restore America’s diminished international reputation” and that the voters of America have chosen a “completely new direction in terms of politics and government.”

“This is an exciting time to be alive,” she said.

There were the people who traveled with me to the Mall at 2 a.m., in the hopes that we could get a good seat somewhere on the Mall.

There was that guy from the FBI who was so nice to our group, and was kind enough to point us in the right direction of the gate. He also took a group picture of us in front of the empty Capitol building.

There were the others who waited with us at the gate, singing songs and chanting “Obama! Obama!” at random times because they were so excited and couldn’t wait for the ceremony.

Then there were the two women who were standing next in line to me while we were waiting for the gate to open onto the Mall. I never did catch their names, I’m sorry to say. But they kept us all in good spirits when we were tired from standing and freezing in the 20 degree weather for hours on end.

There was Tony, another student from the University of South Florida, who also stood in line with me and unfortunately had defective hand warmers.

There were the students from DePaul University who dutifully twittered their Inauguration experience. I never got to meet them in person, but they helped me realize just how the Inauguration is one, big, common experience that we as a nation share together.

I was particularly struck by Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s welcoming remarks.

“Here on the National Mall — where we remember the founders of our nation and those who fought to make it free — we gather to etch another line in the solid stone of history,” she said. “Future generations will mark this morning as the turning point for real and necessary change in this nation.”

“They will look back and remember that this was the moment when the dream that once echoed across history from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial finally reached the walls of the White House.”

It was the reminder of all this that made yesterday so special. Our lives are often defined by small moments within the bigger scheme, and this trip has brought me so many small moments to remember. This was truly a momentous occasion, and I’m glad I got to experience it.

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