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Seeing, or rather, hearing history on the National Mall

I wasn't sure if I was going to make it, but after hours of waiting in the middle of a mob of inauguration-goers, I passed through security and found my place in front of the Capitol. I witnessed Barack Obama as he was sworn in as the country's 44th president.

It was amazing to be here, watching history being written right before my eyes.

Or, should I say, hearing it with my ears.

Despite being given what I was assured were "good seats" for the historical inaugural, my passes for the purple-zoned area (the north side of the lawn near the Capitol) provided a totally obstructed view.

In fact, I couldn't see a thing. Not even the JumboTron, thanks to a massive tree with wide, sweeping branches.

As Obama took his oath of office, I scanned the multi-colored sea of hat-covered heads.

It reminded me of a wedding I went to a few years ago where the videographer stood directly between the couple and the congregation. Today's occasion, however, was far more momentous and memorable, despite the lack of visuals.

The crowd booed when outgoing President Bush was introduced and sang a few verse's of the hit, "Hey Hey, Goodbye." The mood was very different when Obama made his entrance minutes later.

The mass of people standing from the Capitol and all the way down the National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial erupted into applause.

Between speeches and songs, chants of "O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!" broke out across the crowd.

Sure, I couldn't see the inspiring sight of Obama taking his oath or making his first presidential speech, but I could hear it -- and certainly could feel it.

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Melissa Arseniuk

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