Inauguration Day 2009 was, of course, memorable in and of itself. But watching Barack Obama being sworn in as the nation's first African-American president wasn't the only unforgettable moment of the day. Here are our top 10 moments so far, in (mostly) chronological order. Thanks to our users who've submitted their own top moments — keep them coming! (And keep following us on Twitter!)
10. Best Promotion for Amtrak: "My favorite inauguration moment was the historic train ride ... along with all the stops, slow rolls, people waving, and all the speeches along the way. The train ride represented so much history [that] it made history again in 2009." (from user jbproctor)
9. Best Hat/Classic Folkie Sing-along: Pete Seeger's enthusiasm during his rendition of "This Land Is Your Land" was infectious. During his performance alongside Bruce Spingsteen on HBO's We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, the folk legend led the crowd in a rousing sing-along, reaching out with his arms to conduct. Sporting the most awesome chapeau of the freezing three days of ceremonies, a fleece, bead-lined beanie, Seeger made sure the meaning of Woody Guthrie's ode to tolerance and unity — as sung by the thousands of on-lookers — was loud and clear.
8. Most Awkward Moment: A day before the big swearing in, then-Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, made a surprise appearance on Oprah Winfrey's show at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Jill Biden promptly let it slip that Barack Obama gave her husband his pick between secretary of state and vice president. Joe Biden promptly "shushed" his wife for her slip of the tongue, but then laughed off the incident. Wonder if Hillary Clinton did the same?
7. Warmest Welcome: Forget the millions freezing their you-know-whats off at the National Mall. The warmest welcome was from George W. Bush to Obama when he arrived at the White House for morning coffee. Remember it's not always — nor does it have to be — that cordial.
6. Most Thoughtful Gift: Upon arriving at the White House following their family's church visit, Michelle Obama hands outgoing First Lady Laura Bush a bow-wrapped box. What was in it? A pen and journal engraved with Tuesday's date for Bush to start her memoir — something she has said she wanted to do. Now that's what you call listening closely.
5. Best New Anthem: "Air and Simple Gifts" by John Williams. Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill perform a stirring and inspirational rendition of the specially penned score minutes before Obama took the Oath. We say it trumps the Star Wars theme.
4. Most Promising White House Historian: Malia Obama seems to have been recording every moment with her tiny digital camera, from her father's inauguration speech to Beyonce's performance on Sunday.
3. Making-Sure-You're-Paying-Attention Moment in Obama's Speech: "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers." Think about it: When was the last time you heard a president give a shout-out to those who are NOT of faith? Read the full text of Obama's speech here.
2. Funniest Line: The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery's "... when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow ..." made us want to sit in on more of his sermons sometime. For some of us, it's been a while since we put on our Sunday best ...
1. Best Summary We've Seen of the Event So Far: "Every part of it has been exciting. It has been nice to see most Americans put aside pettiness and divisions and come together in celebration. After all of the stressors many have faced from the economic downturn, it's been great." (from user Gentlebreeze)