Sunday, January 25, 2009

Inauguration - Epilogue

What more can we say about our experiences during the inauguration? During the week we talked with family and friends around the US - and Cindy in Malaysia - answering questions about what it was like to be here. It has given us a chance to reflect some more about everything we did. Writing this may be more for us than you, but read on if you wish as we describe some of our greatest impressions and memories ....

.... such as the crowds, huge crowds. How there were people of all sorts, some wearing fur coats and suits, some in every-day wear, some looking like street people, some waving Kenyan flags and singing. And despite the crowds, how orderly and friendly people were. How there was a real sense of celebration, camaraderie, and history in the making.

.... such as how massive the security was. The entire parade route fenced in, check points where people were searched prior to entering, police two-deep along Pennsylvania Avenue, bomb-sniffing dogs on patrol, military police helping out, helicopters continually circling overhead, bridges into the district closed, sniper-spotters and sharp-shooters on the roofs of buildings. This is only what we saw, not to mention under-cover security and hidden cameras and who knows what else. And despite this, we found ourselves occasionally anxious about the safety of our President, especially when he was walking along the route.

.... such as Julia, with whom we ate lunch and talked for quite a while ... a black woman, somewhat older than us, who grew up in Florida during some of the dark days of segregation. How she shared some of those experiences, told us that her sisters were the first to de-segregate a high school in Florida, that store-fronts had signs that read "Negroes enter in the back", and how her father taught her how to get through the barriers without hate, malice or prejudice to those who might mistreat her. How she never thought she would see a black president in her lifetime. And how, almost in passing (and certainly not boastfully, rude or pretentiously) she said "and that is why this day is so important to me."

.... such as how we well up in pride and emotion at almost every inauguration we watch, as it is the essence of US democracy for parties to peacefully transition power to one another. And how, even though we did not back Barack Obama, nor believe his were the best policies for the country, nor vote for him, we accept the outcome and recognize him as OUR President.

.... such as how fortunate we feel to have been able to experience this at least once in our lifetime. No, we didn't get tickets to view the swearing-in, and, no, we didn't brave the cold to stand in the mall and watch it on jumbo-trons amidst a sea of people, but we were there, in DC, and could feel the palpable buzz of excitement.

We will pray for our leaders, especially the President, because our country needs wise leaders now as much as ever. We hope you do, too.

May God Bless the USA.


Erin and Brian said...

We are truly blessed to live in America! How awesome you guys got to participate in the inaugural activities - it was fun to read of your experiences and see your pics!! Thanks for posting.

MarlysDon said...

What a great commentary and pictures. Thanks for sharing...there are few, very few countries where there is a change of leadership without bloodshed and with the people's consent...Indeed, may God continue to bless America, despite the turn from Godly ways and belief by so many of her people and leaders.