Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

Eight years ago David took his American flag down and said he would not fly it again while Bush was president. True to his word, the flag has been stored away until today. As soon as Barack Obama was sworn in and gave his inaugural speech, those of us who had gathered for the occasion went outside and watched the flag go up for the first time since 2000. It added significantly to this very historic day.
Obama had his hand on the Bible used at the swearing in of Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves...... a poignant reminder of how far America had come, to chose a black man as president.

David and Thom had invited people to watch the proceedings on their big TV and the atmosphere was festive and happy. We drank champagne and snacked as we wandered in and out of the living room. When the ceremony began, though, we all sat with our eyes glued to the screen. We were part of the millions of people who had gone to Washington, standing when they stood, applauding when they applauded.

The last time I felt so moved and proud of America was in 1962 when John Kennedy was elected president. Since then resignation and pessimistic apathy have gradually taken over my political thoughts and feelings. I have become sullen and critical, cynical, even ashamed of our government, our country. Now, as somebody quoted at our celebration, we know longer need "to pretend to be Canadian."

No matter what happens now, it's nice to experience a resurgence of hope and pride.
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