The doors to East Ballroom I opened at 10:45am, and the program started slightly early at 10:57am with a speech by Parks and Recreation director Wanda S. Durden followed by the announcement of the winners of an essay\poetry contest and a performance by a local youth choir.
11:13am – a talented local singer, Lauren Sherry, sings “Get Ready” by The Temptations, and she’s followed by a dance troupe with slightly off timing: I give them 7 out of 10 (you were expecting Jay-Z, puhleeze, this city probably couldn’t get Kathy Griffin).
11:23am – Scattered cheering as the video screens come back on showing the arrival of first daughters Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, and then quickly turn to booing as former-President Bush and Dick Cheney arrive at the Capitol.
11:37am – Cheers erupt from the crowd as Barack and Michelle Obama arrive at the Capitol. Swearing in of VP Joe Biden is now officially 7½ minutes behind schedule.
11:42am – Auditory goes out during Diane Fienstien’s (D-Calif.) introduction of Pastor Rick Warren. (On the plus side, it meant we didn’t get to hear Rev. “My purpose is to hate gay people” Warren’s invocation).
It’s about this time that I realize that I’m probably the only person in my section without a digital video camera. I count at least three professional cameramen and at least print photographers roaming around my section.
11:50am – Audio returns in time to hear Aretha Franklin’s rendition of “My Country Tis of Thee”
11:56am – Joseph Robinette Biden is sworn in as Vice President of the United States – 26 minutes behind schedule!
12:01pm – Wolff Blitzer announces that Barack Obama is now “officially the 44 th President of the United States.”
12:05pm – Barack Hussein Obama is sworn in as the 44 th President of the United States. Some people in the crowd begin to make their way out of the ballroom.
12:07-12:26pm – Obama gives inaugural address
12:27pm – More people begin to gather their stuff, but quite a few people stay behind to see the closing invocation. We aren’t one (or two) of them.