Two whole conference rooms were filled with inauguration viewers. In the larger conference room the inauguration festivities were streamed from the internet and projected onto a large screen starting at 10 a.m. The room was already filled when I arrived about 10 minutes to 11 a.m. During most of the event, people were quiet, perhaps saving their comments for later or just whispering to the person next to them. Sitting in front of me, a Caucasian woman grabs, clutches, and shakes the hand of an African American woman in the air and says something to her after it’s announced that Aretha Franklin will sing. They both look happy and excited. I saw one woman look at someone across from her after Rick Warren’s prayer with a smile and laughing eyes as if there were an inside joke or opinion between the two. There were a few faint claps during the speech when the crowd at D.C. clapped, but applause in the room was saved for after the speech.
The most audible reactions: 1) When, for a few short moments, the projector screen froze or went completely blue and said, ‘no signal'. “Couldn’t we get a TV for this? There are so many people streaming on the internet.” and 2) when the crowd laughed each time president Bush was shown. They also laughed when President Obama seemed to forget the rest of one of the sentences he was supposed to repeat while being sworn in. When all were asked to rise for the National Anthem, many looked around and a few looked like they were ready to stand, but no one stood up (except for me, quietly, in the back). A man sitting to my left harmonized as he sang softly along with the Anthem.