Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Live from Arlington

Inauguration coverage from your faithful Washington correspondent . . .

Okay, so I'm sitting on my couch in north Arlington, approximately four miles from the National Mall, but I'm still a darn site closer than most of you.

For most of the country, the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama is an event of much-anticipated historical significance. The people who live in and around Washington, however, waited for it like the approach of a Category 4 hurricane. Imagine if you heard that millions of out-of-towners were going to descend on your city, take up all the hotel rooms (even churches are renting out cots in their Sunday school classrooms), and crush into your public transportation. For weeks, we have talked of little else. Many local residents have either headed out of town or holed up at home.

I just heard that a 68-year-old woman was pushed off a platform on the red line and struck by a train, and a child was crushed against a barrier on the Mall. Four people have collapsed from hypothermia. It's 23 degrees and feels like ten. Many have stood behind the barriers since four in the morning.

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