January 20, 2009 was a great day to be an American. It was also a wonderful day to be in Washington. And although I’m writing this from Santa Monica, California – I didn’t leave Washington until we had a new president.
Claire was on the mall with friends and she took several pictures of the inauguration – including the one at the top of the post. She reports that it was very festive, and this picture captures that spirit.
Because I had to fly to California later in the day, and Candice was coming back from a long weekend in Florida, Andrew and I opted to go to Politics and Prose – the wonderfully independent and progressive neighborhood bookstore – to watch the inauguration with like-minded friends and patrons. It was great. The staff provided free popcorn, the coffee shop was hopping turning out the hot chocolate and lattes, and everyone was in a very good mood. Andrew had on his Obama ’08 cap and we enjoyed the view and the company. There were three different screens and the place was full…it was almost as busy as a Harry Potter launch party! We all cheered, a few hissed at the sight of outgoing officials, and I think everyone had a tear come to the eye. I certainly did.
So I flew across the country for work later in the day, but did get to see the parade (thanks to Virgin America’s cool in-seat TV screens). And just watching Larry King Live on CNN, one of his quests just talked about a great moment for him which I also found very moving. That was when Joseph Lowery, the Civil Rights icon, began his prayer with the third stanza of Lift Every Voice and Sing, the Negro national anthem. Hearing that song the day after the MLK holiday and in this context was just the right touch.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou Who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou Who hast by Thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee.
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.
God bless our new President. And God bless America.
More to come…
Congratulations to President Obama and to all Americans.The peaceful and orderly transition of power is something you can rightly be proud of. Your ability to self-correct through the various stages of your nation’s history augur well for your future.
As a foreigner who wants good things to happen in any and all parts of the world, I wish Americans will work more in harmony with their president. How successful Obama can be as American president will depend on how well his fellow-Americans can rein in their demands for their expectations to be satisfied.
Keep the hopes alive.