In Depth

Students and Faculty Travel to Washington D.C. for Inaugural Celebrations

While some students and faculty at Andover packed into Kemper Auditorium to catch a glimpse of CNN coverage of the inauguration this past Tuesday, other members of the Andover community crowded onto the National Mall in Washington D.C. Temba Maqubela, Dean of Faculty and Instructor in Chemistry, Morgan Askew ’11 and Nathan Johnson ’11 were among those who spent Inauguration Day in the nation’s capital, away from the Andover community, but close to the action. Maqubela saw attending the inauguration as a duty. “Since I had tickets for the inauguration from Mrs. Maqubela, it was our responsibility to represent the community and in particular, I was also doing it for the millions who fought for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country. I thought specifically of them and others who asked me to remember them as the ceremony was going on,” Maqubela wrote in an email to The Phillipian. “The inauguration was a lot better than I expected,” said Johnson. “I actually got to see what was going on, and I have never been to an inauguration before so I didn’t know what to expect, and I think no matter what, it was just great.” All three agreed that Inauguration Day in D.C. was hectic and crowded, although the atmosphere was positively charged. The entire day was filled with chaos and excitement, according to Askew. “The vibe in the morning was pretty much everyone freezing their butts off. You could feel the excitement, but basically everyone was freezing.” Later in the day, people started to warm up, she said. “There were just so many people, and everyone was going absolutely crazy. All the roads were closed off except to tour buses and cabs, and so there were like, ten police officers and soldiers on every corner, and there were humvees blocking off the roads. It was kind of hard to go anywhere, but we did eventually,” said Johnson. “People from all walks of life were in attendance,” wrote Maqubela in an email. “The orderliness and discipline of such a huge crowd of people put a real spin on the second law of thermodynamics, which states that in a spontaneous reaction/process the disorder of the universe is increasing.” In conjunction to Maqubela’s observation, Askew said, “As soon as they started announcing senators and dignitaries and the president, everyone just [got keyed up.] I was in a pretty mellow section, but as soon as Obama was sworn in, everyone just went crazy. The entire day, even riding on the train and just walking around, you couldn’t get away from the people and their excitement.” “They predicted that everyone would have about a square foot of space, and that was what we found. A square foot or less at all times,” she said. The trip to D.C. was an event of a lifetime, according to Maqubela. “There was disorder in a beautiful kind of way,” he wrote. “The tears would roll and the expressions of elation were spontaneous and triumphant. These images will stay in my memory for a very long time. The experience was divine!” Johnson said, “Going to the inauguration was definitely worth it. There was just so much going on, you couldn’t really be bored down there.” “Being an American citizen was wonderful, voting was a great and meaningful experience, for me hearing the oath being administered in front of those gathered in D.C. and those watching on television screens and computers all over the world put real meaning to the expression,” wrote Maqubela.