Security was so intense there were military soldiers acting as crossing guards blocks away from the mall.
Besides that, just getting into the mall was slower than officials thought. They told us there was a terror threat so they are being extra careful.
Public transport seemed to be the way to go –– more than 400,000 people used the Metro by 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to officials. There was one major problem though: A 68-year-old woman fell off a platform and was hit by a train.
She was lucky to survive, but sustained serious injuries. And the accident caused a major headache to those trying to use the subway.
The amazing thing is all the locals seemed to be undisturbed. I met a woman in a posh neighborhood picking up garbage that was probably left by the partying people the night before.
I asked her if she knew how to get to the mall by subway.
She smiled and said, "Why don't I take you there. I don't want you to get lost."
When I arrived at the scene several hours later, it was more mayhem.
A car accident forced the unexpected closure of the street we needed to get through, so we had to walk several hundred additional yards. We got through to the ticketed area but quickly realized we weren't going to be able to see or hear anything so we pulled back. It was ridiculously crowded.
All the streets to get to the entrance were shut down, forcing people to stand near the Washington Monument.
But most didn't care. It was simply about being here.
Pastor Rick Warren actually got a relatively warm response despite his controversy. He made a point to call Jesus by his Aramaic, Spanish and Arabic name, which the crowd seemed to love.
Then they introduced Aretha Franklin and the crowd went nuts.
There were thousands of people all the way to the Lincoln Memorial.
Everyone went nuts as Obama was sworn in.
I was in the middle of the mall and could hear the Lincoln Memorial cheering. They were the loudest by far. They turned the speakers up as Obama started his speech.
One additional note: Although we were in the area that was considered special, we were further from the scene than tens of thousands of people who were in the "free area." We were so far back, we would hear the roar of the crowd before hearing the words that they were cheering for from the new president. They were seconds ahead of in hearing and seeing history.