Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration, live from DC!


Sometimes, you need to put the computer aside and really LIVE the events that are shaping your life, your country, and your future. Yesterday was one of those days, as Barack Obama was sworn in as our 44th president.

I don't need to tell all of you what significance this day carried for America. Or young people. Or the African-American population. Or the world. Those stories have been played out across all major media outlets ad nauseum for weeks. I can only tell you what it meant to me -- one young woman standing on the Mall among millions, forgetting she was freezing because history was unfolding.

My first impression was the miracle that is this country's peaceful transition of power. Even though our last president was unpopular, the worst that overwhelming crowd did was boo. BOO. In other countries, there would have a coup, assassination, and/or civil war. I counted my blessings.

Also striking was the crowd's mood. The unabashed jubilation of election night wasn't in such full force. Rather, it had evolved into a deeply joyful, contemplative, and solemn feeling, mingled with relief that yes, this day was not a mirage, and yes, it had finally arrived.

Moreover, everyone was expressing optimism and faith. At times I felt like I was in a church service, with people around me shouting "Amen!" or responding to the points in Obama's address. Clearly, we all knew what was at stake. If nothing else, Obama has spent the last couple months setting realistic (and sobering) expectations about the state of our nation. But he's done it with hope and practical planning, and the Mall audience was responding in kind.

I also thought about how all my years as a voting citizen were spent solely within the Bush administration. There, I believe my personal interests were neither represented or respected. Now I look forward to an administration more in line with my beliefs and values, and one that understands the impact (positive and negative) its actions are taking on my generation.

The biggest takeaway from yesterday's inauguration, however, was my full grasp of what it's like to be PART of history, a witness to it. For the first time, I was THERE -- the mythical, magical place in the space-time continuum that makes you an unspoken footnote in the history books.

No one could pick my face out of that crowd. No one in his administration will never thank me by name. No one knows what I intend to do with my renewed sense of optimism and energy. But I do. And I also know I can -- and will -- use it to shift the course of human events in my own small way.

Though I can't go back in time and put all of you there with me, I hope the following slide show takes you through my experience. This is what it looked like 30,000 feet back, folks -- and let me tell you, the view was spectacular.

NOTE: Click on the lower right corner to blow the screen up full-size. Then, click on "show info" in the top right corner of that screen to see my titles and captions for more information.



A final thought: Jacob sent me an e-card today with the caption "We can finally stop pretending we're Canadian." Amen to that. I'm eager to reclaim my new city and return to business as usual. My sleeves are rolled up. But I'm even more excited to regain our class and dignity as leaders of the free world. It is time, and we are ready!

5 comments:

  1. When I saw your pics of the Washington Monument, I thought that we may have only been feet away from each other and not knowing it! But then I saw you were on the east side of the monument, while we were right in front of the WWII memorial.

    But oh, what a day!

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  2. Your photos are fantastic. I'm really glad that you brought light to the fact that we're all capable and should use all of this optimism and positive energy to change the universe around us. I think that people get defeated and think that they're too small and insignificant to forge true change in our world. If more people shared your sentiment, we'd be even further along the way to making this country the best it can possibly be.

    Thanks for your reflections! They're fantastic.

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  3. Anonymous3:56 PM

    Julia Rocchi,
    I was deeply upset and concerned as I read the contents of your blog entry regarding the Obama inauguration. As someone so educated and well rounded as yourself, and as someone who holds her Italian heritage so sacred, I was surprised by the words you so passionately expressed. This administration should be so far away from being "in-line" with your beliefs and values that I am surprised to learn what you truly believe. You must certaintly be pro-choice,(the most important Roman Catholic position), anti second amendment, pro nationalized health care, and quite possibly a socialist. I would carefully evaluate your true beliefs and values, and what this administration truly means for the future of the greatest nation in the world. As a member of the voting public I will give unto Obama the respect due his newly elected position, I also wish him the best. I hope for the best, but fear the worst. Finally, in regard to your position on how lucky we are to have a crowd that only "boo-ed", I am also sadened by the lack of respect shown to a man who was leaving a position of great honor. This country bleeds of disrespect and your acceptance of this is also upsetting. Please reconsider your support of this administration, as it contradicts everything you should hold as sacred. Thank you. Richard David

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  4. Omar: So happy you found my blog! Were you there in your blues?

    Tiffany: So happy you found my blog as well! (It's a music director invasion!) Did you come down at all that day?

    Richard: To your various points--

    a) The Roman Catholic Church preaches a consistent ethic of life, which holds ALL life and human dignity sacred. I try my very best in my life and in my voting decisions to support these teachings. Abortion is certainly one element -- but so is pacifism, the death penalty, and human rights, among others. I believe the previous administration violated far more of this spectrum than they held sacred, and I voted in this election to achieve the *most* good possible (acknowledging that no one, on any side, will get it all right).

    b) You're absolutely right about the booing. I did not participate, and tried to discourage the people I was with from joining in. Like you, I believe the office should be respected, even if I am not thrilled with the person in it. Please re-read my post; you'll see I did not condone the behavior, I was simply citing it to prove a much bigger point.

    c) We are each entitled to our beliefs about what we "should" (your word) hold sacred. I do not aim to dictate mine to others through this blog, and I greatly appreciate it when my commenters treat me and my other readers with similar respect so that we can all have an interesting and fruitful discussion.

    Thanks!
    Julia

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  5. Anonymous9:53 PM

    Dear Julia,
    You did a wonderful job taking those photos and we enjoyed all your comments. I'm sure it won't take long for you to find another good position. Why don't you try going to Washington to get a meeting with the President. Show him your intelligence and expertise. Who knows, he might chase Hilary Clinton out of her office. Good luck, Julia, and God bless you...Love, Grandpop Taraborelli.
    PS: Grandmom sends her love too...Grandpop said it all.

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