Trying to escape the breathtaking Washington D.C. cold Tuesday morning, CSU professor Bill Chaloupka said he wasn’t sure which hotel on Massachusetts Avenue he’d ducked into to grab a cup of coffee but noted that he’d just been a first-hand witness to history.
Having been able to grab last-minute frequent flyer tickets to the nation’s capital, Chaloupka, on sabbatical from CSU this year, stood near enough to watch what he called the only inaugural speech to ever attempt to address not just the U.S., but the world.
“There’s never been such an address that’s called on us to come together to work on the world’s problems,” Chaloupka said in a telephone interview with the Collegian, hours after the 44th U.S. President took office this morning.
“I thought it was just enormously impressive in a number of ways . I think the closing lines were especially lyrical and poetic, and we’ll be hearing them and reading them for a long time.”
Chaloupka said an enormous number of young people – children and college-aged alike – surrounded him, and that he was most struck by the number of families spanning generations in age that gathered by the thousands to witness the inaugural celebration.
“Younger people were crucially important to the Obama campaign, and I think he understands that,” Chaloupka said, “but seeing all the people here from all over the place, I’ve realized it’s not just the D.C. crowd (here); it’s a very national and, to some extent, global crowd. I’ve even met some great folks that traveled all the way from South Africa.”
The mood in the area, he said, was singular.
“We’re all very, very happy.”
Speaking of upcoming changes in policy and legislation that the Obama administration has said it will bring, Chaloupka said, “There’s reason to be very hopeful.”
News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.