Monday, January 19, 2009

Behind the scenes at Inauguration Day

We’re only hours away from the inauguration of our next president. Millions have come to Washington, DC and the areas surrounding the capital to see this historic event. People are talking about the high cost of the festivities, the historic significance of our first African-American president being sworn into office, and the record crowds.

Personally, living in the shadows of Washington, DC, I’m staying away from the city. And my heart goes out to those who have to be there. Several of my friends and acquaintances moved into their offices over the weekend, sleeping bags in tow, in preparation for the festivities. And I know they aren’t alone.

I’m talking about the FBI, Secret Service, law enforcement officers, and the many other individuals who are required to report to work on Inauguration Day, not only because that’s part of their job, but because their sense of responsibility is so great. What many don’t realize is that while the news may touch on the fact that there aren’t any hotel rooms to be had within forty (or more) miles of Washington, many members of these protective agencies are without a place to stay.

The road closures in the area, the expected high volume on the subway, and the lack of hotel rooms left many without any other choice but to go into work on Sunday night and not come home until Wednesday after the inaugural events have concluded. After all, these are people who are willing to throw themselves in front of a bullet to protect our new president. They aren’t about to take a chance of not making it to work on time.

I imagine President-elect Obama is only beginning to understand how truly great this country is, and how privileged he is to have such dedicated men and women working for him to ensure his safety and the safety of his family.

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