The concert started at 2:00, and we got there a couple hours early. The crowd was already crazy and the closest we got to the Lincoln Memorial was halfway between the World War II Memorial and the Washington Monument. But they had jumbotrons set up so we could see what those tiny dots up by Lincoln were actually doing. :-)
Here is the list of people we saw: Samuel L. Jackson, Pete Seeger, Shakira, U2, Ashley Judd, Forrest Whitaker, Usher, Stevie Wonder, Jack Black, Rosario Dawson, Garth Brooks, Tiger Woods, Herbie Hancock, Sheryl Crow, Will.i.am, Josh Grobin, George Lopez, Cal Penn (Kumar!), John Melloncamp, Queen Latifah, John Legend, Marisa Tomei, James Taylor, Laura Linney, Denzel Washington, Mary J. Blige, Bruce Springsteen, Martin Luther King III, Steve Carell, Jamie Foxx, and Jon Bon Jovi! (there were even more, but I can't remember everyone)
Can you believe that among all those amazing people and performers, the person who really got the crowd up, dancing, singing, and jumping was Garth Brooks?? He sang "We Shall Be Free" and "American Pie" and everyone was going crazy! It was a fantastic moment.
Other favorites were Pete Seeger, who is probably 100 years old with a banjo, who wrote and performed the song "This Land is Your Land" - which had everyone singing, too! Samuel L. Jackson's speech was fantastic (he talked about Rosa Parks), and just being that close to Tom Hanks and Steve Carrel was awesome! Of course, Joe was excited to see Tiger!
They showed a lot of historial moments, amazing moments throughout history that also took place right where we were all standing. I just can't tell you the feeling I had seeing all those moments happen in front of the same Lincoln Memorial we were looking at. I really think Lincoln would be proud.
Okay, enough talk, here are some pictures:
Ironically, Bush flew over us and landed at the White House while we were there. Funny how the outgoing president was flying over the crowd gathered to welcome the new president. Some people started waving and singing, "Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye."
There was a ton of security, obviously. Lots of snipers on roofs and people in uniform patrolling the crowds. These guys looked exactly like the toy GI Joes to me.
It was pretty cold, but worth it! And try to imagine about a million people all excited and talking, and then when they started the ceremony, all becoming completely silent at once. Amazing.
I was very proud of myself that I didn't have to use the bathroom the whole 5 hours we were standing in the cold. I hate port-o-potties and although the city was FILLED with them (I've never seen so many port-0-potties in my life!) I was so happy to use an actual bathroom during dinner that night.
Leaving the concert was crazy. About a million people all filing out at the same time, trying to get to restaurants, bars, or metro stations. There were roads blocked off and police cars. We definitely felt like cattle. I wanted to take a nice picture while we were in the crowd making our way to dinner, and Stuart struck this pose. I call this "Thug Life".
See the crowd??
Garth Brooks: American Pie!
Tom Hanks speaking about Lincoln. You only hear him speak at the very end, we didn't get a good video of him, but it's still worth posting.