I spent yesterday milling about with the crowd on the National Mall, watching the jumbotron, and trying to get a glimpse of the action at the Lincoln Memorial through my binoculars. The atmosphere was very festive and it was incredible to see so many people. Even despite the two second delay between audio and video, everyone was having a good time watching the show on the big screens. There were many visitors in town. Many asked me to take a snapshot of them in front of the Washington monument, and I gave directions to best eateries to dozens of others.
After U2 performed, Obama took the stage to loud applause followed by sudden silence. Everyone stopped to listen. Soaking up the moment, I felt that we were starting a new country. I know that sounds ridiculous, but after 8 years of Bush and his administration, it really did feel like change was in the air and that we were all part of some historically defining moment. There was a palpable sense of unity that I had not seen in this country since 9/11 (which was squandered on the tyranny of the majority). I think Obama will capitalize on America's willingness to right the past wrongs and make us all a part of something much larger than each of us individually: the idea of America.