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Barack Obama inauguration goes with everything -- at least for one morning in Wicker Park

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obamashirt.jpgIf you wanted evidence of how much things have changed since the last Presidential Inauguration, in 2001, you'd have to look no further than the swanky couch cushions in the back of the Silver Room. The Wicker Park fashion landmark (1442 N. Milwaukee) hosted an inauguration watch party and sale as Barack Obama took his oath on a sunny Washington, D.C. morning.

People feverishly texted friends, sharing their thoughts on the historic events unfolding on a projection screen positioned just above a hardwood DJ booth. At one table, a television crew interviewed patrons between Twitter updates, talking about how the ways people interact with each other has changed. But despite all the technological advances, a strong sense of community connectivity was palpable. Myriad factions intermingled, expressing hope for the future and sharing just why they believe this is possible.
Emotions came through as the 44th president took center stage, people clasping their hands together as if in prayer, embracing the ones sitting next to them. Some waved American flags, all seemed to be aware they were ushering in a new day.

Obama received a rousing ovation as he walked out. Cups of orange juice were raised as simultaneously the crowd in our nation's capital welcomed him as well.

"I couldn't be in D.C., but still wanted to be part of the energy that's been part of this campaign," Roxanne Ryan-Alozie said.

The Wicker Park resident walked over to the event because she wanted to be with like-minded people.

"It's kind of like you walk into this room and you already know you have something in common, we all have that progressive hope for tis country. And we all want to see this country grow, and get better."

As the events unfolded, the crowds grew, filling up the entire back section and stretching back to aisles of jewelry. Still more sat on the floor. Photographs were snapped - by media types and patrons - opinions buoyed over coffee and smiles sported roomwide. Camcorders were prevalent, everyone wanted to capture this moment in time.

The room was perfectly silent as Aretha Franklin belted out her pre-Inauguration tribute, but erupted in jubilation as she hit the final note.

But while hope, optimism and joy may have been the over-arching themes in this place, there were times of somber reflection. Heads were bowed during Rick Warren's prayer and an occasional sob was heard. Many stood as Joe Biden and Obama took their oaths, raising old campaign signs and waving flags.

reaction.jpgThey remained standing during the new president's speech, enraptured by every moment. Those gathered here had been at the forefront of Obama's quest to be exactly where he was -- addressing the nation he's now trusted to lead.

This is the ending they'd hoped for. This was the ending they got. And they certainly savored every second of it.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on January 20, 2009 3:03 PM.

Knicks' choice of music after Gallinari scores called into question was the previous entry in this blog.

Chicago Sports Week in Review takes on a new member, things do not go well is the next entry in this blog.

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