Wednesday, January 21, 2009

brand new day

yesterday I was one of the approximately 1.5 to 2 million people who was in washington d.c. witnessing history. in a word it was transcendent!

like with many, my inauguration celebration started sunday with the concert that was held on the grounds of the lincoln memorial and as with most, I watched the concert on television (thanks hbo for broadcasting it free!). obama's speech near the end of the event was wonderful. wow! next to obama's speech, my personal highlight was pete playing woody's 'this land is your land' with his grandson tao, bruce springsteen, and a community choir.

on monday morning I left my folks home in northern virginia, hopped on the metro and headed to downtown dc. first stop national airport (I refuse to call it by that other name!) to pick up joan, a friend from cleveland, and escort her into the city. I couldn't have had a better companion for the next two days. joan is an 80-year old african-american woman, who has not only seen a lot of history but has made history. what a blessing to experience obama's inaguration with joan. in terms of our sharing the inauguration experience, we think that higher powers must have been at work - whether those powers are god, the spirit of martin, guardian angels, or fairy magic - who is to say.

this shared journey goes back to mid december when we were both visiting mj. I made a comment about going down to dc for the inauguration - I had no ticket and no real plan. I was just interested in being there to soak in the energy and witness first hand what we've all been working for - the inauguration of president obama (doesn't that sound good!!). joan replied that she had been invited to dc by a local man who is helping restore cleveland hope, but she was reluctant to go alone.

long story short - by the time joan and this gentleman connected it was too late for the full monty (air tickets, hotel, tickets to three events, etc.) so joan thought, 'well, that's that.' then a week ago joan got a call from m, a daughter who lives in new york, saying that she and her family have a place to stay in dc; if joan wanted to go m would get her an airplane ticket and joan could join them at the house of the father of friend right on capitol hill. joan jumped at it. joan called the man in cleveland back with hopes that perhaps he could still get a ticket for her to see the inauguration. he said he could! not only did he get joan a ticket he got 2 tickets!!!! and guess who else was kissed by that angel. yep, your's truly. not only did we get tickets but our tickets were delivered to us - which was another blessing as it was one less line that we had to stand in.

monday afternoon joan and I wandered around the grounds of the capitol and the national mall soaking in all the energy and joy. if a city can sparkle, washington was sparkling. never have I been surrounded by so many smiling, happy people. we talked with people from places near and far, people, who like us, made the pilgrimage to simply witness history. the weather was perfect - it was brisk, but it was sunny and bright and the temperatures, especially compared to cleveland, were down right balmy. one special activity we did on monday was go to part of the special multi-cultural celebration taking place at the national museum of the american indian. after we got back to the house, we found m and her family got in. two members of m's family are kids so after dinner we ended up spending monday evening watching the kids' inaugural celebration which was broadcast on the disney channel. had I not been with children, I would have missed this event. that would have been a loss, it was great fun and my knowledge base of pop kid culture has grown exponentially from the experience!

I knew tuesday was going to be an incredible day when I was awakened at 5 in the morning by the sound of a dozen or more people walking down the street on their way to the capitol singing 'wake up america, wake up.' wake up I did, but I let joan sleep for a bit longer. joan and I hit the street around 7 am to make our way to the yellow gate. once we neared the capitol, what greeted us was like nothing either of us had experienced before. a mass of people and lines that went on for what seemed forever.

later we found the angels who were helping us with this odyssey were still on duty as we found our place in line. although we had two tickets, one ticket was for the seated section and one was for the standing section. we designated a corner to meet at after the ceremony and here's where more angels came in again in our journey. this time the angels took the form of two of the men we were next to in line and whom we made acquaintance. they were seated in the same section as joan; after the ceremony concluded they saw joan and thought she looked lost and perhaps a bit overwhelmed. more long story short, they talked with joan, found out our plan and escorted her our meeting place.

unlike monday the weather yesterday was a bitterly cold, much colder than I expected but the shared anticipation, joy, and warmth generated by the community kept us warm. as I mentioned above the entire experience was transcendent. the music. the crowds. the speeches. being one person among so many who came together for that single purpose to share the hope and to say YES WE DID!

as you might expect I have a ton of photos which I snapped on monday and tuesday. however, since I'm not home this afternoon's project is to find some place where I can transfer my pictures off my card and onto a disc. as soon as I have access to the pictures expect to see a slide show (or two).

sting's brand new day. sting sang this song at the neighborhood inauguration ball which was aired on the tube last night. hopefully in the weeks or days ahead, youtube will have a vid of that performance.

photo: above a sunrise in cleveland, january 2008; insert photos taken with cellphone of pete and our tickets

21 comments:

marianne said...

thank you so much for sharing. considering i was tearful watching at home alone, i can only imagine what it must have been like to be there. nice to have hope for the future-

mouse (aka kimy) said...

marianne - I forgot to include that....for the last three days I've been crying at the slightest prompt. don't you love tears of joy? something about being able to feel shared humanity does that to me!

Adam said...

This sounds like an amazing experience. I would have loved to be there, but I have friends in DC and I have heard so muck about the city's preparation! I am so glad you and joan were able to share this experience together and also share this with us!

Can't wait for the photos!

Take care! I hope you get home safe and sound.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Mousie, a personal account - Wow! Can't wait to see your photos! Even over the pond, on the TV, the atmosphere and noise must have been electric!

Reya Mellicker said...

How FANTASTIC that the angels gathered around you and put you front and center! YES!!

So many tears have been shed in the last couple of days. Tears are healing. The whole country has experienced a soul retrieval. I am blown away.

Roy said...

What an experience that must have been! I was all worked up just listening to the festivities live on NPR! And you know we can't wait to see the pictures.

When you get a chance, I put up a post yesterday about our new hope for the future, and that shot of ol' Pete you have there is part of what I posted, a YouTube video of him and his grandson Tao and Bruce Springsteen with a choir singing This Land Is Your Land on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. What a day!

Ali said...

One of my friends, a hospice social worker, said she had families of dying patients tell her all day "isn't it a great day!" Yes -- some events are so amazing and wonderful they transcend even life and death. I was teary all evening after being sort of calm during the day, celebrating with the Olympia community's "Black Men in Leadership" party.

Lover of Life said...

Maybe this is the Dawn of Aquarius!

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

What a great first hand account of the great day. And I am with you when cab drivers ask if I am going to the airport by that other name. I say, "No, I'm going to National."

mouse (aka kimy) said...

adam - not heading home until sunday. cold here still in metro dc, but the forecasters say there is a warm front. hope it warms up at home in cleveland too! got most of the photos copied - now to weed through and see what is worthy of sharing...since both mom and dad are napping I think I'll be starting that now!

woman - electric - that is a fantastic adjective to describe the day!! thanks - getting to that photo project

reya - totally agree with you on the healing quality of tears! a friend recently told me that she's on a medication that affected her tendency to cry when she's touched by a piece of music. I couldn't help but think what a big loss...

roy - your post before my photo project. thanks! I (heart) pete!!

ali - super hugs...what a great group to share the experience with last night!

lover of life - most certainly, reya will know which dawn we are entering! ;)

junk - thanks. I always wondered if we could return to the original name.... heaven forbid that someone gets it in there head to name an airport after w....

K. said...

Great post! My brother and his family used to live on Capitol Hill. He got tix, but they found themselves in a line that was literally a mile long. He and his wife made an executive decision that they wouldn't be able to get in in time for the swearing in, and lit out for home and the television.

My mother and father live in DC in the early 50's. They went to Eisenhower's inaugural parade in 1952, then walked over to Union Station to help see Harry Truman off on his train back to Missouri.

dw said...

What a great experience, mouse! Can't wait to see the pics.

"I refuse to call it by that other name!" ... LOL

Colette Amelia said...

I looked for you in the crowd!

What a crowd!

What a time!

Lets hope that it will carry us through all the bumps in the road.

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

What a blessing! I am in awe that you were there to witness the inauguration in all its glory. I was home snapping photos from the tv coverage, but it was still an incredibly powerful experience. It truly does feel like a new beginning.

Megan said...

I looked for you too!

Merle Sneed said...

Wonderful post and a day to remember!

jenclair said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing, Kim!

Michael Rawluk said...

Didn't you just love that Pete had all those Washington power people singing the original banned words?

Diane said...

Thank you for sharing this. I am so glad to think you had this fantastic experience. Even watching it on TV was pretty special. Thanks for finding me on Facebook.

Greg said...

Wow! So great you came here all the way from Cleveland! I feel even more privileged than usual that I get to live here and was able to take part. wasn't it amazing?

Linda Pendleton said...

Thanks for the wonderful post about your experiences. It was amazing to watch the weekend events and the full Inauguration Day. The shift of energy that has taken place is wonderful, and although it was amazing watching on TV, it must have been incredible to have been there with everyone. It was an emotional few days, full of inspiration, hope, togetherness.
Linda