Everyone knows the address 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The President’s House. The People’s House. The White House. In my twenty years of existence on this earth, I have never seen this house in person. That is until Sunday, January 13, 2013. I moved down to D.C. the day before to start my semester here where I will be interning for CBS News and taking classes through the Washington Internship Institute (WII). But Sunday was not about work, it was a day to relax and sight-see with my family before they had to start the journey back up north to New England.
Seeing the White House for the first time really put things into perspective for me. I’ve been a fan of history and current events my whole life. So many important events and people have passed through the halls of the building that I was now standing in front of. It has always been a dream of mine to become a reporter and to report on major events, people and locations. This was the first time that I really felt as if I’m on my way to reaching that goal.
Just about a week after my first time seeing the White House was the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. In 2009, I wanted to be in D.C. for President Obama’s first inauguration. However, being in high school at the time, I did not have the resources to venture down to Washington. Instead I went to a local restaurant that was having a viewing party and I watched the President take his oath from there. Fast forward four years and now I am in D.C. working the event for CBS News! Just typing that line blows me away because I cannot believe how fast time has flown by. My job on inauguration day was basically to man the green room in the location where CBS was filming its broadcast and also to help out with whatever needed to be done.
We were only about a block from the Capitol building and I made sure to run up to the roof during the President’s oath of office. I will never forget the moment. Standing on the roof, Washington Monument to the right, the U.S. Capitol to the left, and a sea of people down below. Although I could not see the President, I could faintly hear the oath through the speakers spread out on the National Mall. The oath ended with an eruption of cheers from the estimated one million people in the crowd and was followed by a 21-cannon salute.
That night I stuck around to watch Scott Pelley deliver the CBS Evening News live from the rooftop of our location with the Capitol in the background. Just a week earlier I was viewing the White House for the first time and now I was in the company of true professionals like Scott Pelley and Bob Schieffer. My first week in D.C. was an unbelievably hectic but eye-opening experience. This semester is shaping up to be a busy one, but one that I will never forget!