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A Cold Morning in a New America

It’s a great day in America. And God, it’s too cold.

Joining the crowd in Greenbelt, Md., to ride the Metro to Capitol Hill to witness the historic inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama brings new meaning to the phrase “huddled masses yearning to be free,” if not warm. The saving grace of the cattle-creep to the Metro gates at 6:30 a.m., is that the body heat generated by the crush of people does somewhat blunt the sub-20 degree temperatures. Still, by the time we finally reach the train platform 40 minutes later, I can barely feel my toes.

Note to D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty: When millions of people descend on your city to attend an historic event, don’t force them to pay to ride the Metro. Take a cue from the New York metro area on New Year’s Eve, and let people ride for free. Public safety is more important than making sure no one slips through without using their fare card. Don’t act like you didn’t know we were coming.

Right now, I’m thinking that all those people who planned to be here and changed their minds: good move. Watching the inauguration on television from the comfort of home, surrounded by family and friends (instead of just, well, surrounded), sounds really good right now.

By tomorrow, however, I know that those of us who braved the cold, the crowds, the army of vendors of boot-legged Obama paraphernalia, will be glad that we saw Barack Hussein Obama Jr. take the oath of office to become the 44th president with our own eyes.

It’s the dawning of a new day in America. It’s too cold, I’m telling you. Thank God, we’re finally here.

Alfred Edmond Jr. Is the editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com

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