January 20th 2009, Washington, D.C., 9:34 a.m.
"Twenty degrees up here feels a lot colder than twenty degrees in Birmingham," says Southern Living assistant travel editor Farrah Austin. She called us this morning from her spot alongside thousands and thousands and thousands of people in front of the nation’s capitol building.
There’s a buzz in our magazine’s offices, but it hardly compares to Farrah’s perspective…
In the few minutes that we talked, she shared a blur of images and details:
"One of the coolest things was that when I got here around 6 this morning, there were volunteers in red hats saying ‘Welcome’ and ‘Have a nice day.’"
"I just heard a San Francisco girls choir serenading the crowd, but all I can see now are hats, flags, and lights from the jumbo tron."
"Everyone here is doing a countdown, asking for the time. We can’t wait for it to start."
"There’s a merry-go-round spinning with kids on it. There are kids up in a tree looking out at everything."
"So many people are selling stuff–Obama keychains and lighters."
"With all these bodies so close together, you think it would be warmer. People are cold and hungry, but everyone is still nice and polite. At first people were frigid. Now we’re all excited. There’s a great spirit of brotherhood and friendship."