Monday, January 21, 2013

our journey: presidential inauguration 2013

Big smiles are inversely proportional to the sensation in our feet.  
Three-day weekends are the best.  They mean sleeping in, lazy breakfasts and letter writing - my favorites!  While neither my sleeping schedule nor my morning noshing is worth writing about, this three-day weekend is one I'll never forget.  Not only does it mark my first attendance at a presidential inauguration - but Abdoulaye's as well!  He's been here less than two months and he already practically met the president :)  OK, so we didn't get that close.

Following our lazy breakfast this morning, we suited up and prepared as best we could for the cold (OK, it wasn't that cold), got on our bikes and headed downtown.  Following the Rock Creek Park trail, we joined families and other groups on two wheels headed toward the National Mall.  

Unsure which way to go once we arrived where I normally turn off the trail for work, I asked a police officer which way to head.  "Follow the crowds!" he said with a smile and gestured to his left.  Abdoulaye and I did just that and ended up at the Lincoln Memorial and, after locking up our bicyclettes, put our feet in the same spot where Martin Luther King Jr. put his on August 28, 1963 when he delivered his "I have a dream speech."  Pretty fitting for the momentousness of today's occasion.

After visiting the Lincoln Memorial, we trooped down the length of the reflecting pool and joined
the masses watching the swearing-in of President Barack Obama on giant screens spread throughout the lawn.  We made it next to the Washington Monument and settled in to watch despite the increasing loss of sensation in our feet (chalk it up to poor sock choice!).  

As we tried to listen to President Obama's speech (evaluation note: the acoustics were awful!), I got chills when we all whooped and hollered at the same excerpts (the ones we could hear at least :)  Looking around, there were families of all sizes, shapes, colors and orientations and I couldn't have been happier to be a part of it all as evidenced by my periodic squeals.  "Just remember my head and teeth are back here!" Abdoulaye said with a smile a couple times as I jumped up and down with him standing behind me.  

The gravity of it all hit me then as it hits me now while I'm typing this post in our Washington, DC apartment - this is a day we will never forget and something we will tell our children about.  The day we saw President Barack Obama sworn in for his second term as President of the United States of America.  Our journey together is just beginning but, like President Obama said, "we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together."

Since I couldn't actually hear the entire inaugural address live, I checked out the transcript of the speech when I got home and these are my favorite parts:

 "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."  (WRI will be especially happy about this!)

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.  Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country."

Here are some more pictures from the day (and some from the National Zoo :)

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