Washington, DC is the Hollywood of the political world, no more so than during a Presidential Inauguration year. In addition to the main event on the National Mall attended by thousands of people from all over the country, there are many other glitzy, star-studded festivities held in the city throughout the weekend. A few of our staff members and friends attended some of the Inauguration celebrations, and below they share their brush-with-fame experiences.
Melissa, Sophia, Lindsay, and Liliana at the Kids’ Inauguration Concert. Lindsay is the daughter of the Association’s Vice Chairman of the Board Cheryl Glang and all the girls are part of the NOAA Corps Family. The concert, for kids in military families, featured performers like Katy Perry, Usher, and the Glee Cast. They got to sit five rows from the stage and had a blast!
“My husband, an active duty Army soldier, and I are stationed in the Washington, DC area. It was such an exciting time to be here especially over this weekend’s inaugural festivities. We attended the state of Florida’s Inaugural Ball (as we are both originally from Florida) on January 19th. We met a variety of guests including members of the Florida National Guard, additional active duty military members, and Members of Congress serving in Florida. On Monday, January 21st we attended the 57th Presidential Inauguration in the Nation’s capital. As the Commander-in-Chief was sworn in, he gave us hope for a more peaceful future. As a military spouse and advocate for military families, I hope that the Nation rallies around the support of our military service members and their families. Both of these were once in a lifetime opportunities that I will always remember.” – C.C. Gallagher, Government Relations Deputy Director
“Living in our Nation’s capital on any given day is exciting, but it was extra special to be a resident of the greater Washington, DC area during a Presidential Inauguration. We had been looking forward to attending The Texas State Society’s Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball since moving here in 2011. Having been born and raised in Texas, I knew this was an event that I wouldn’t want to miss. We two-stepped our way through the night, enjoying as much of the live entertainment (over 20 bands) and Texas treats that we could. What made the night even more special was spending it with my husband and witnessing the incredible amount of support and thanks that he received from other attendees. We couldn’t walk 20 feet without someone stopping and thanking him for his service. Needless to say, it lived up to its Texas-sized reputation, and I can’t think of another occasion where it is totally appropriate to wear cowboy boots with a ball gown!” – Lauren Kuen, Communications Administrative Assistant
“Imagine my delight a week ago when I found out that I would receive two tickets to the Commander-in-Chief’s Inaugural Ball. Things like this usually don’t happen to me – I never win anything! I quickly had to find a ball gown and figure out what I was going to do with my hair. (Believe me, my co-workers provided me with an abundance of advice on these two matters!) After securing a dress and working out the transportation issues, it was time to sit back and enjoy the night.
My husband and I stood in a line full of service members outside the Washington Convention Center, waiting to go through security. It was a long and beautiful line of uniforms and ball gowns. As we patiently waited, a group of picketers approached with their signs, and started ranting through their microphones how ashamed we should feel about the war in Afghanistan. Local police officers quickly made a human barricade between this group of people, and our line. My first reaction was anger, but as I looked around at the line of service members, I saw every one of them staring directly ahead, not giving these picketers even the slightest bit of attention. These service members obviously were not going to let something like this ruin their night, and neither was I!
The ballroom was beautifully staged. Everywhere I looked I saw spectacular ball gowns. The uniforms were quickly filling up the room, and soon the place was packed! Never in my life have I been in a room with so many uniforms. It was indeed an awesome feeling. I was so proud to stand next to my husband that night and enjoy the camaraderie amongst fellow military families as we awaited the arrival of our President. Regardless of rank or branch of service, that night we were all one – one group of extremely proud American citizens lucky enough to participate in such a historical event.
When President Obama stepped on stage, the place erupted in applause. The President made many kind remarks about our service members and truly conveyed his feelings of gratitude for our service members. There were two live news feeds on the big screen – one to our troops in Japan, another to our troops in Afghanistan. President Obama spoke with them and made sure they knew that even though this was a night of celebration, our deployed troops are still in the foremost of our minds. The whole evening was lovely. I still cannot believe that I, a small-town girl from Kansas, attended a Presidential Inaugural Ball. It was truly a magical event.” – Cindy Jackson, Finance Specialist