As the crowds began to fill the southwestern lawn of the U.S. Capitol Monday morning, Barbara Arnwine was beaming.
Arnwine, the executive director of the Washington-based Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, was among the lucky ones to snag a seat in front of a sea of people who stretched down the National Mall all the way to the Washington Monument.
"It's been wonderful," said Arnwine, who attended inaugurations for President Bill Clinton, as well as President Barack Obama's 2009 swearing in. "The vibe. The energy. The city is unbelievable."
With time to spare, Arnwine said she was busy chatting with the people seated near her.
"We've been making friends," she said.
The excitement among the hundreds of thousands of people around her was "pretty strong," Arnwine said.
"I think there is a lot of hope in this audience," she said.