SCA staff member Ashley Hansen provided us with this account of volunteering on Inauguration Day:
I witnessed history.
I witnessed hundreds of volunteers gather for a 5 am check-in to serve our country.
I witnessed my fellow volunteers flow into Starbucks on the corner of 14th and New York Ave to stay warm while the staff called in for backup and fixed the broken toilet.
I witnessed large crowds flowing down 14th Street to the National Mall. On Jump Team 5, it was my job to redirect the crowds around the White House to 18th Street.
I witnessed the thousands who had walked miles or braved the metro, spent the night on the floor or hadn’t slept, all to witness their part of history.
I saw young, old, black, white, New Zealanders, Spanish and Chinese. They each had their own reason for being there, but it was important that they were there.
On my lunch break we warmed up in a fellow volunteer’s office, with goose bumps and tears in my eyes, I witnessed President Obama be sworn in as our 44th President.
I witnessed people preparing to go through the metal detectors and onto the parade route at 15th and New York Ave. They followed my directions, take all the metal out of your pockets, turn your electronics on and prepare to unzip your coat. Two single file lines please.
I witnessed ecstatic people getting last minute free tickets, from volunteers like me, for prime location along the parade route. They joined me in the bleachers across from the White House and Presidential viewing box.
I witnessed President and Mrs. Obama, Vice President and Mrs. Biden, take their seats to watch the parade.
The sun had set when I witnessed my fellow AmeriCorps Alumni march by. They smiled when they saw me cheer and wave! Go SCA, go AmeriCorps!
When the Peace Corps alumni marched by carrying the flags of the countries they served in, I searched for the flag of Mozambique and Guinea to no avail.
As a volunteer, serving my country, I witnessed the enthusiasm, the disorganization, the incorrect maps, the energy, the passion, and the love between our brothers and sisters.
President Obama, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve, I was there.