Tuesday, January 20, 2009
On This Historic Day . . .
Today I had the privilege of spending a few hours with grandchildren because there was no school. First, we had a couple of Christmas gifts that needed to be exchanged. I planned to take the children bowling because even a grandma with a limp can still push a ball down the lane. And I will say, I kept up quite adequately. First though, I wanted them to watch the inauguration of our new President Obama with me. I hurried the boys along while shopping telling them that it was important to get home and turn on the TV.
It was moving to watch the whole inauguration program. Truly this was an historic day. I am proud that we have an African American President. It is the right time. I am proud of a country where the transfer of power is gracious. I was in awe of the whole schedule from starting out at St. John’s Church on Lafayette Square for a prayer service. We went in that little church on our Washington DC visit and now it all seemed so much more significant. I prayed that this President would hear God’s voice and be a person of integrity. I prayed for his safety and the safety of his family. The program, the special music, Michelle’s dress, the swearing in, the speech and the prayers were all well done and fascinating. It was stunning to observe the crowds of people!
It was incredible to hear about the moving-in process—not only for the Presidential family but for all of the staff. Imagine walking into the White House and calling it, “home”! What fun that the Bush daughters showed the Obama daughters their bedrooms and how to jump on the tall beds. (I know, that was on another day—not today.) I felt sadness and respect and gratefulness for former President Bush. I hope that history will treat him more kindly than the voices of these last months.
What fun for me to watch the ceremony with children. Of course, they cannot appreciate the significance of this day. But they did notice details . . . for a few brief moments we had President Bush, Former Vice President Chaney, Vice President Biden and President Elect Obama. Then the clock struck 12:00 and even though President Obama had not yet taken the oath of office, he officially became the president and then took the oath within a few minutes. They chuckled to see that even President Obama could get nervous and need his lines repeated during the oath. One child wondered why they use the word “swear”? Yes, and to them the speech seemed long, and they did not understand the appeal of Aretha Franklin. They noticed people that did not close their eyes during the prayer and wondered if we should stand when everyone was told to rise.
This is undeniably presumptuous, but I will say it anyhow. I hope someday as these children become parents and their children study about this significant day, at least one of them will draw on this memory and say, “Yes, I remember, I watched that inauguration with my Grandma.” Perhaps as an afterthought—or not, “. . . and then we went bowling”. . . our own inaugural party.