Watching Obama’s inauguration

January 21, 2009

Even before dawn, I was stunned by the television images of crowds already waiting on the National Mall, keeping vigil while the Capitol Building was flooded with spotlights.   Then day dawned pink and clear in Washington, DC, and the images were even more stunning.  Crowds as far as the eye could see, people of all colors and ages, waiting in the wintry air to witness history first-hand.

I’m always impressed by American inauguration days.   I’ve had the luxury of watching every Presidential Inauguration on television since 1989, when I started staying home with my first child and began the  freelance phase of my writing career.

And most of the time, despite my political leanings, I took satisfaction in watching the peaceful transfer of power in the world’s most powerful nation.  I took comfort in the orderly progression of pomp, as each of those Presidents-Elect would visit church with their families, then visit the current occupants of the White House, then ride with the outgoing President to the Capitol Building for the inaugural events.   I enjoyed hearing the announcements for the players of national politics and watching them take their seats on the inauguration platform.

Of course, this inauguration was like all the others I had watched.  But for me, it was also completely different.  Even through the television screen, I could feel the electricity in the air in Washington, DC.   I think that electricity was the blessing of so many people who felt compelled to wait in the darkness, compelled to wait in the cold, compelled to join the crowd, compelled to just be there to add their blessing to the blessings of others.

I was happy to watch the inauguration with someone, too.  My middle son, John, was home with me because he had finished his high school exams for the day.  So by 11 a.m., John and I were watching the festivities from our living room sofa.  My husband, Ray, said that people at work also gathered around a television at midday.

Like so many other Americans, I felt that Jan. 20, 2009, was a day for us to feel part of something much larger than ourselves.  Some of us traveled to Washington, DC.  Some of us watched from home or at work or at public viewing parties.  But I believe that all people of goodwill will continue to choose hope over fear and pray that Barack Obama succeeds in steering our Ship of State through very choppy seas.

— CH



  1. I think you’re right about the sense of connectedness throughout the country…and I would add, around the world. I was home alone and still clapped out loud at times. It was a day to behold and one to remember for a long time.

  2. Sharon, I like your turn of phrase about “the sense of connectedness.” I think that’s a great way to describe the feeling so many people shared at Obama’s Inauguration.

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