My interest in politics began when I witnessed Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as President in 1981. I was only 5 at the time, watching on television with my parents in small-town New England, but I can still remember President Reagan taking the oath of office with the First Lady looking on. Twenty-eight years later to the day, I had the distinct pleasure of being in Washington for the inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th president on Tuesday, Jan. 20.
The excitement and wonder I felt all day continually reminded me of the rush I felt as a 5-year-old with the simple thought, “I want to do that when I grow up.” Politics has been my passion ever since and while I have gotten to do some amazing things in my life, being there on Tuesday to literally witness history takes the cake.
Besides my own enthusiasm, the one thing that struck me most about the day was the tremendous amount of respect and joy everyone seemed to feel. Despite the large crowds and the delays getting onto the Mall and onto the Metro, no one argued or fought, everyone seemed happy just to be there together experiencing the day. It is my hope that this spirit of camaraderie continues as we address the tough work ahead so that it can be said that we as Americans met the challenge Obama set for us:
“Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it).”