Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Where Were You When?

In years to come, when people reminisce about this most historic of days, and the question inevitably turns to "where were you when?" what will your answer be?

For us, it started with NPR over breakfast, as the parade of dignitaries came onto the capitol steps. Then in the car on the way to school, as Aretha massacred "My Country 'Tis of Thee," (or at least that's how it sounded over the radio - maybe she did better wherever you were?), and on the way back home as Williams' "Air and Simple Gifts" was played (complete with interruption by the commentators to note that noon had passed, and thus Obama was officially the President of the United States of America), then back home and watching it live via the internet for the swearing-in, The Speech, the Poem, the Song, and the Benediction (my favorite part of the whole affair).

Oddly, I only remember two other inaugarations with any clarity. I remember watching Ronald Reagan's ascension to office, which I watched in a school classroom. Although, in truth, it's not the ceremony I remember so much, as the reporter (aid?) running up to him shortly after, shouting "Mr. President! Mr. President! The hostages have been freed!" And I remember Bill Cinton's inaugaration; mostly, because I was homeless at the time, living in an airstream trailer in the backyard of a family from our church, and for that morning I sat inside the warmth of a living room, sipping a cup of hot coffee, glad to feel momentarily lifted outside of my world into something so much larger.

I already feel like I handled this one wrong. I think if I had it to do over again, I would have kept Olivia home an extra hour, and watched it together as a family. Whatever the future holds, this is truly a historic moment. And the days ahead promise to be interesting.


Linda Anderson said...

The air was thick with emotion at work today as staff and residents gathered around the many TVs to watch to events of Inauguration Day unfold. So many are looking to this new President to make big changes and fix much. Glad I know that it will be God Who brings about the changes and remains in control regardless of who is in the White House. Don't you just hate it when people massacre our patriotic songs! It was indeed historic.

Anonymous said...

I loved Aretha with her amazing hat and the song was beautifully done from the heart. What else matters? So what does it mean "My country tis of thee"? "of thee I sing" Is "thee" God or the country? Have you ever,ever, ever seen so many African Americans and young people saying good things about this country instead of complaining? The whole hopefulness of the day inspired me to think that I should also complain less and contribute more, which was the whole purpose of our new leader being brave enough to take on this thankless office. A lost generation now has a leader they respect and for that I'm truly thankful. America bless God! Rebecca