Eli Capilouto

Guest Entry: 2013 Inauguration

Published: Feb 12, 2013

This entry is the first in a series of guest bloggers I am welcoming to this space over the next year. It will be an opportunity for faculty, staff and students to share with us their Wildcat experience. In this first installment, Sarah Geegan, an integrated strategic communications graduate, current graduate student and information specialist in UK Public Relations and Marketing, recently returned from our nation’s capital where she joined fellow students and alumni for the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.

Please enjoy.


By Sarah Geegan

Last month I was fortunate enough to witness in person a monumental moment in United States history, the 57th presidential inauguration ceremony. Nestled under about five layers of clothing and equipped with the essentials (hand-warmers, binoculars, a camera and snacks), I maneuvered my way through the crowd of 800,000, my hands clasped around the arms of several friends from UK.

Standing on the Capitol lawn and watching the Congressmen, Supreme Court justices and the Presidential family file in was thrilling, as was hearing the President deliver his inaugural address live. Feeling the pulse and the excitement of the eager crowd around me-- people who came from California, from Texas, and from right around the corner in Maryland or Virginia -- was unlike anything I have ever experienced. Party affiliation aside, watching Barack Obama and Joe Biden recite their oaths under the Capitol dome, and feeling ― physically ― the energy of the crowd as this historic moment transpired made me feel as proud to be an American as I have ever felt.

Looking back on the weekend as a whole, I have to say that the word "pride" became rather thematic, and perhaps encapsulates the accumulation of my experiences in D.C.

I drove to D.C. with two undergraduate students; we had to drive through the night both ways to accommodate class and work schedules. When we arrived in D.C., we picked up our tickets from our respective Congressmen's offices and were assigned specific standing areas to view the ceremony. On Monday morning, we headed for the Metro at 6 a.m., anticipating long lines on the way to and from the Metro stop. While getting to the ticket entrance area was fairly easy, the line to enter the Capitol lawn stretched down several streets and around several buildings. We waited for about an hour, chatting with the people in line behind us, just to arrive at the security tents, which were very similar to airport security check points.

When we finally arrived in the viewing area after being thoroughly assessed by the refreshingly friendly Secret Service officers, I would have to say that the word "crammed" does not begin to describe the space around us. We waited for three hours for the ceremony to begin and made friends quickly with the people behind us-- ― the same people with whom we had competed for "good spots," and occasionally had to grab for balance as people moved their way through the confined area. When they asked us where we were from, we enthusiastically responded that we were from the University of Kentucky, and I listened with immense pride as my fellow UK students described our school and its accomplishments: things like a national championship, the great success of DanceBlue and the prestige of various academic programs.

When the ceremony finally began, we used our binoculars to peer through the inconveniently located trees in front of the capital, and viewed the various speakers. As I said, hearing the speech and experiencing the emotions of the crowd was truly incredible; however the best part of the experience was the pride I felt as I shared this moment with my fellow Kentuckians.

Over the course of the weekend, I stayed with a dear friend of mine, a UK alumna and former classmate in the UK Honors Program, Nikki Hurt. Nikki is attending George Washington University, pursuing a master's in public health and health policy. Throughout the weekend, I was blown away by her ability and commitment to balance her onerous school work, while also playing hostess to friends visiting D.C. She got up early in the mornings to read for her class, met with classmates for a few hours in the afternoons to review her material, and still managed to fully participate in the inaugural activities.

I was so proud to behold, first-hand, her passion for the field of health care policy, and to see how that translated into her excitement for an inaugural ceremony that symbolized an era in which health care issues are on the forefront of American politics.   

Outside of the ceremony itself, my fellow Wildcats and I had the opportunity to display our Kentucky pride during the UK vs. Auburn basketball game the Saturday before the inauguration. I have heard before that one can find a UK fan in any city in the nation, especially during basketball season, but I didn't truly appreciate this sentiment until that night. We found a sports establishment known to play SEC games, and before I knew it, the entire restaurant overflowed with UK fans. Within this particular building, the night was comparable to the nights I spent in New Orleans during the 2012 SEC tournament. Everyone was wearing blue. Everyone was cheering on the Cats. Everyone, I believe, felt the same overwhelming pride that I felt to celebrate a win with UK family despite being 500 miles away from Lexington. 

Touring the monuments and hearing the varying perspectives of the people I was with ― a public health grad student, a political science senior and an education senior from UK, as they took in this important historical moment in unique ways, but with the same enthusiasm and passion that has come to define the weekend, was a wonderful experience. I'm so thankful that I had that opportunity to go.


Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
College of Pharmacy Open House
Iron Pour
UK Women's Choir 20th Anniversary Concert
Adventure Hiking & Rappelling @ Red River Gorge
Pickin' Time Mountain Music and Harvest Day
Purposeful Retirement: Planning Your Next Stage of Life
Diwali Dhoom 2014
UK Percussion Ensemble
Day Hike
Curator Tour: Take My Word For It
Industry Career Week: Resumes and Cover Letters
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Morehead State
Industry Career Week: How to Impress Your Boss in 90 Days
Rock Star Professionalism Series
UK Lab Band
Industry Career Week: Networking and Job Search
Social Enterprise and Innovation / Certified Nonprofit Professional Program Informational Meeting
Dana Harper Gallery Reception
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Zona Sur
LNFS Presents: The Grand Budapest Hotel
UK Jazz Ensemble
Abstract Workshop
Lauren Potter
LNFS Presents: V for Vendetta
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Marvin Heiferman
Men's Soccer vs. Charlotte
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Georgia
Free Friday Evening Swing Dance
Kentucky Football vs. Georgia
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
The Power of Poetry
The Lexington Lowdown and Free Lindy Hop Workshop
Swing Dance Featuring Live music by"The Metrognomes Orchestra"
UK Combos Concert
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Missouri
UK Sax Ensembles
Job Club - Interviewing Strategies
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Jose Abisambra Presentation on Current Alzheimer's Research
Women of the World: Judy Smith
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Reservoir Dogs
Refugee Life in America
Leadership Assessment
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Iron Man 3
#TrendingTopics: Vegetarians vs. Meat-Eaters
Campus Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics KY
LNFS Presents: La Demora
LNFS Presents: Pretty in Pink
LNFS Presents: Mean Girls
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Florida
Greek Cinematography: Critical Approach and Discussion
"Storied Streets" Documentary Showing about Experiences of Homelessness
UK Rep Bands Concert
Stories of Homelessness: Panel Discussion
A Positive Approach to Caregiving Conference
CatWatch Party
LNFS Presents: The Princess and the Frog
Pinterest Party
Caregiver Support Group
OXFAM Social Issues Banquet
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You
LNFS Presents: The Big Lebowski
Bollywood Night
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: Water For Elephants
4th Annual Markesbery Symposium on Aging & Dementia
Freedom from Fear: On Black Childhood and Other Dangers
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
UK Symphony Band and UK Concert Band
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Job Club - What is your money habitude?
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Arkansas

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