Inauguration Fever: Proud to Be an American (Again)
“. . . On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. . . “
photo ©2009 Liz Hager
As shots appear on the Jumbotrons, the enormity of the visual impact made by 1.8 million of us on the Mall was clear. The symbol of hope seen ’round the world. On the ground, the crowd sizzles with pent-up energy. Eight am rolls into 9 am and 10 am; the Mall filled. The rainbow coalition is reporting for duty. The weather oscillates between biting cold (wind chill in action) and almost tolerable. People shuffled and marched to stay warm, aided by Sunday’s concert re-play on the Jumbotrons.
With the arrival of dignitaries on the podium stage, we forget all about our frigid bodies. Anyway, the sun has come out, a portend of things to come. Random and large cheers rupture, ripple, reverberate. John Lewis, Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and Puff Daddy come and sit. Cheney rolls in on his wheelchair—what righteous symbolism! With the announcement of the man soon to be “Formally Known As,” the crowd sends forth loud boos, chants of “Good Riddance,” “Go Back to Texas”and choruses of “Na, Na, Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Goodbye.” The party is underway!
And then The Moment arrives. Our Man waits for the Chief Justice to get the words straight; alas he is unable, so our Man, poised as ever, repeats the wrong sequence. “Congratulations, Mr. President.” The crowd goes wild. Ding, dong the witch is dead!
. . . The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. . .”
©2009 Liz Hager
“Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”
©2009 Liz Hager
“All this we can do. All this we will do.”