Words by Tiffany Edmondson, Photos by Patrick Record

WASHINGTON — All roads in Washington, D.C., led to the Washington Convention Center for the Commander-in-Chief's Inaugural Ball Monday night. Even though majority of the downtown streets were blocked off, men in military suits and tuxedos and women in heels and fancy gown dresses walked for miles in frigid temperatures until they were able to find their entrances. Even members of the press had to trek through the makeshift mazes set up and secured by various law enforcement agencies.


Hundreds waited in line to be checked by the Secret Service before they were allowed to enter the convention center. As they made their way through security check points, guests were greeted by several volunteers who lead them to the basement of the convention center where the ball was held. The Commander-in-Chief Ball was held in another restricted area.


Before the party jumped off, DJ D-Nice entertained the early birds with a universal playlist that consisted of various artists from different genres of music. The party space stretched about the length of two football fields, but as the night wore on people stood shoulder-to-shoulder with cocktails and Chex Mix in their hands. Thousands were still outside waiting in line to get inside.


The United States Marine Band was on duty and played several songs before Alicia Keys took the stage. The moment she appeared, people rushed the stage to get a closer look at the Grammy-award-winning singer. When Keys played her hit single “Girl on Fire” and changed the lyrics to “Obama is on Fire”, the crowd roared to acknowledge the reelection of President Barack Obama.


Afterwards, the president and Michele Obama walked on the stage smiling at the thousands who were in attendance. Oscar-award-winning artist, Jennifer Hudson sang Al Green's “Let's Stay Together” while the president and the first lady shared the first dance.


Naval veteran K. Lynn Trice said that she had a great experience at the inaugural ball, “To be a part of a historical event in which an African American president was re-elected is an amazing opportunity."


Trice went on to say that even though she enjoyed herself at the event, there were some things that surprised her, including the snacks, which included pretzels and Chex-Mix. Several attendees, all of whom had paid hundreds, even thousands, of dollars for tickets, said they were disappointed with the refreshments. However, they didn't let that get in the way of them enjoying themselves at the ball.


Presidential Inaugural Committee volunteer Queen Jones said that the ball was well organized with quality performers. Queen said even though she had to work the event, she was still able to meet great people which made the night more exciting.


“Being at the ball was so significant to me. I am a server by nature and I could have not been at a better place. Just to be among other volunteers who gave up their time, when they could have been in a gown or suit enjoying the festivities. But these people were serving mankind,” said Queen.