Inauguration Day

There are days that seem to blend into eachother. Days when nothing worth noting happened and you can’t really recall where you went or what you did. Today was not one of those days.

Today was a day that people wore T-shirts and buttons touting the name of the man who promised America change. It was election day all over again. Today people gathered around TV screens and computer monitors in bars and office cubicles nationwide to witness the historic changing of the guard.

Like many people, I had a person in DC today watching the events unfold firsthand. My dad. But he was not there to celebrate. He was not there for the Jumbotron or the parades or even the speeches. He was there to serve.

You see my dad is a volunteer with an emergency medical response team. He has been deployed to hurricane zones and other national emergencies to care for the sick and injured. His team was deployed to DC just in case. They set up a makeshift hospital and were prepared for anything and hoping for nothing.

I spoke with him at sunset east coast time. They were taking down the tents and he could still see the lights from the parade winding down the streets. From his station he could hear the two million people singing and cheering in the distance. And oh, what joy.

My day was much smaller. I stood crammed into a tiny office with six other colleagues and watched the inauguration in streaming video, a process that took twice as long due to the Internet traffic. And like many of the best conversations I have had lately, the most interesting of the day occurred on public transportation between a bus driver and a Vietnam War veteran. Both men were black, both were in their sixties.

VET: It was just beautiful – the sea of all the people.

BUS DRIVER: His whole speech was about unity. He didn’t separate one from the other. He knows that is what it’s going to take. He knows without that it’s going to be difficult. It’s a hard task anyway. But the economy, it will take awhile, but it will be fixed. What he said about working with other countries … let’s come together. Let’s come together and work it out.

VET: [upon exiting the bus] Yes we can. Yes we can. God bless you.

My sentiments exactly.

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