Inauguration Day

20 01 2009

I got up this morning and took Jack out of his crib because he was squirming around and I wanted to let his mother sleep some more.  Then for the next two hours we watched CNN and the inauguration day events.

The only other inauguration I remember was Reagan’s in 1985.  I was 2 and half years old.  The only reason I remember that one  is because during the pledge of allegiance I was standing and my mom said that if I was going to stand I had to put my hand over my heart, but I didn’t want to.

Suffice to say that I will remember this inauguration for other reasons.  The festivities surrounding the oath and address were appropriate.  Aretha, Yo Yo, Perlman, et. al. were wonderful as usual, Warren and Lowery gave wordy, non-prayer prayers as usual, and the interactions between former presidents, vice-presidents, and honored guests were all fascinating as usual.  However two things were unusual.  First, Chief Justice Roberts screwed up the oath saying “execute the office of the PUS faithfully” instead of saying “faithfully execute the office of the PUS.”  This moment was fairly humorous as Obama smiled slightly and started to correct the Chief Justice, before Roberts realized his mistake.  Has a Chief Justice ever screwed up the Presidential Oath before?

Secondly was Obama’s address, which was fairly brilliant.  Touching on the civil rights movement, the Revolutionary War, and our current economic struggles the speech jumped between historical moments and current events deftly.  As is typical of Obama’s best speeches, this one wasn’t just about ephemeral ideals but also about what we as American citizens must do in the weeks ahead and what Obama as President will do differently.  He concluded by quoting George Washington and drawing a comparison to the birth of our nation

At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:”Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America.  In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words.  With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.  Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Watching this speech with my 2 and a half week old son was an emotional experience and one I will not forget.  So, 24 years after my first inauguration I have watched a second one, I was a child for the first and now I have a child of my own, there is a sense of new beginnings and dare I say it . . . change.