Sunday, January 25, 2009

Alumnus snaps firsthand photos at inauguration

Lee University alumnus Brett Wise ('07) decided on a whim to go on a trip with his friends to Washington, D.C. to see the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Take a look at these photos he snapped and then visit his Web site to see more of his work.

Read his story about the trip after the jump:

So how did it start you ask? Well, it went something like this.

January 20, 2009 Cleveland, TN 12:32AM:

“Do you want to go to DC?”

“Uh, yes? Are you serious?”

“Yes I’m serious, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go! Right now!”

“Okay fine, we’re going. Everyone let’s go, now! Get in the car. Everyone get in the car right now.”

Everyone gets in the car and I drive while everyone sleeps. I get tired outside Knoxville so I pull over and sleep for an hour. Later I find out that no one even knew that I had stopped. I guess they were tired.

I wake and drive (there is a picture on that link) 2 more hours. Someone else then takes over and I start trying to figure out how to get us into the city. Thankfully I had my iPhone. I pull up Twitterfon. I think to myself, “Who is in DC that I know? O yes, Don Miller is.” A minute later I’ve sent him this message, “@donmilleris about 5 hours outside DC. Any tips on how to successfully park? Is it even possible? What is the situation on the ground?”

Of course Don was too busy to help me out. So then I decide to try someone (a random person found via twitterfon search) a little lower on the social ladder. They are nice enough to reply, but are out-of-towners and don’t know anything, foiled again.

I then put out a general tweet hoping someone is watching the #inaug09 feed and sees my SOS. Soon enough I get an e-mail on my iPhone informing me that Inauguration Travel is now following me. Now we are getting somewhere. I soon find there are some very helpful people on the other end of Inauguration Travel and quickly find out that the best way into DC is via the DC metro from Vienna. Serveral hours later we realize we are still 2 hours out and find that we are cutting it rediculously close. I begin to think, “If I had just avoided taking that nap.”

We are getting closer and then finally there it is, the Vienna exit signs. I had been hearing from various sources that all the parking decks were full across DC so we parked at a nearby school only to be told that they weren’t full. So we drive up to the deck and walk to the metro and buy commemoritive Obama metro passes. We are soon on the metro with what I think is time to spare. Little did I know.

We actually didn’t get to the national mall until 11:57 or 3 minutes before Obama was sworn in. We had just barely made it. We ended up finding a jumbo-tron on which to watch the historical moment. There were speakers that allowed us to hear it.

The crowd was emotional. Some were laughing and some were crying tears of joy. Everyone was happy and a lot people seemed to have an expression on their faces that told they wondered what would happen in the next 4 years.

Very few times has a bed felt as good as it did that early morning when we finally made it back. I drove back most of the way and when it got late I started injesting enough caffine to put a small animal down for good. We made it back safely.

In the end we made it to DC and back again in a little over 24 hours. 20 hours driving and 4 hours in DC. A long trip, but worth every bit of effort.

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