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The Giddy Trip To Witness History

By CBS News Digital Journalist Brandon Baur:

(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
My trip to D.C began Saturday morning. I woke up early and packed my bags for the week, preparing for what is expected to be a very cold couple of days. I left grey and overcast Dallas and boarded a flight to Philly where I would rent a car and make the short two and a half hour drive to Washington D.C. I was on my way to cover the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first black President of the United States.

Going to D.C. through Philadelphia was the fastest and most efficient way for me to get there. By the time I had booked my trip, flights to D.C. were either full or ridiculously overpriced. The result of an onslaught of visitors stemming from all walks of life. From across the country people are making journeys similar to mine. They are arriving in planes, trains, busses and cars. Some like me coming for work, others with tickets and invites from politicians. There are celebrities, dignitaries from around the world, and hopeful tourists all wanting to be part of something larger than themselves.

It is a pilgrimage of sorts paying honor to history. There can be no denying the significance of this event. No other inauguration in my lifetime and maybe even in the lifetime of our infant country has garnered this type of attention and enthusiasm.

As I boarded the plane for Philadelphia the excitement of my assignment began to creep in. I was heading to the same city, where on the same day; Barack Obama would begin his final road to the White House. Walking down the jet way I realized I was extremely fortunate to be making this trek.

Excitement was visible all around me, it was practically tangible. Through the voices and conversations, the giddy laughter and smiles, it became clear that for many of my fellow travelers this flight was special. This was a plane, like many in the next coming days that was destined for history. Many of its passengers knew it.

Michelle Warren Swanson of New Orleans decided on a whim that she had to be in D.C. for the inauguration. Her sister Carol Amar of Dallas never thought that in her lifetime she would see a black President, so when her sister invited her to hop on the adventure she was thrilled. They were not going to let this moment pass by without being witnesses to it. As they boarded the plane, I listened to their conversation and realized they were unsure how they were going to get from Philly to D.C. It was obvious they weren't exactly worried about it either. Some way, somehow they were going to get there. They just had to be there.

When we landed I offered them a ride - door to door service I said. They discovered that the trains were sold out and feeling the spirit of the moment they took me up on the offer. For this adventurous duo it was just another part of their journey. It was just a slice of their unplanned route. So for two hours as we drove south we shared our stories and I listened to their excitement as it grew stronger and stronger. Carol recounted telling her 10 year nephew, who had followed the election closely: "you learn about history in school, well, this IS history, you're watching it."

"Washington!" Their elated voices lofted as we passed under the sign on I-95 indicating we were here. They were here, they had arrived. Just two people out of a couple MILLION, who chose to be first hand witnesses, whose stories will be passed on and will gather and collect to make this moment history. This is history, and we all are privileged to watch it firsthand.

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