20 January 2009

Viewing the Inauguration from Snowy Maine

I was thankful to be able to spend the day at home today. The only firewood that had to be brought in was from our connected garage; which means I brought wood in while wearing sandals. I did have a rude awakening over the weekend as I hauled wood while wearing sandals, but that is a story for another day.

Today, while cleaning my desk, paying bills, purging old school materials and generally trying to wade through all the stuff we've accumulated over the homeschooling years, I had the opportunity to watch the inaugural festivities all day. I had both televisions on, so when I walked upstairs, I could still listen to the events.

This is a very cool day in the history of our country. I'm not sure the enormity of it has hit me quite yet. My best friend Michelle, who passed away two years ago, was an African American. All day, I've wished she was here so we could share this historic day together.

I went to college in Texas only 20 short years ago, and I witnessed racial tension and oppression first hand. I've also heard stories from my parents who grew up in Texas in the 1940s and 1950s. My mom still painfully remembers seeing men and women spoken to harshly, and sent to the back of the bus. She remembers separate bathrooms and drinking fountains. I'm glad she remembers and is pained by it. We all should be.

I found myself in tears much of the day as I watched other African Americans marveling over how far we've come.

I watched as masses of people filled the Washington Mall. I remember going to a 4th of July celebration with the Beach Boys on that Mall back in the mid-80s, and I sat right next to the Washington Monument. Back then there were an estimated 200,000 - 400,000 people there. It was quite a party.

But today, there were an estimated million people. Or more. It reminded me of scenes I've seen in other countries around the world. I don't think I've ever seen a gathering like that in any American city in my lifetime. But then, my memory is shot (I have teenagers, remember?) so correct me if I'm wrong.

I also watched as all those folks in D.C., where the weather is usually milder than it is here in Maine, suffered a typical Maine winter day. Complete with wind. I don't envy them that. Still, people were warm with excitement. In fact, I'm not sure the weather bothered anyone but me.

Regardless of our politics, and let's face it, they're quite varied, today is a day to celebrate. We can worry about the politics another day. For now, let's support our new president and pray for him. He'll need it. I know I certainly wouldn't want his job.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes


Connie said...

The pictures you posted from yesterday wear me out looking at them! We watched most of the inaguration and festivities. Bob said "you couldn't ride the wave of the people there, you would be worn out, there were so many people" It was amazing and Obama gave a great speech! Love to you and your blog... Connie

~* J *~ said...

I started watching the inauguration stuff at about 8am and didnt stop until the 5 o'clock news came on channel 5 LOL! My kids were all excited when they came home from school because the school had turned a tv on in the cafeteria at lunch time and while the kids ate they got to see the new president being sworn in. It was such a great day, and even my 5 and 7 year olds seemed to get how HUGE of an event it was! And Yes, it was COLD that day LOL! It was about 3 degrees here in the Belfast area when the kiddos went out for the bus LOL!

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