"The morning was cold and the sky was bright. Aretha Franklin wore a large and interesting hat. YoYo Ma urged his frozen fingers to play the cello, and the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a civil rights comrade of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, read a benediction that began with 'Lift Every Voice and Sing,' the segregation-era lamentation of American realities aned celebration of American ideals. On that day in Washington - Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009 - the blustery chill penetrated every coat, yet the discomfort was no impediment to joy. The police estimated that more than a million and a half people had crowded into the Mall, making this the largest public gathering in the history of the capital. Vey few could see the speakers. It didn't matter. People had come to be with other people, to mark an unusual thing: a historical event that was elective, not befallen."