Today is, quite obviously, a pretty important day in American history. It’s a day we’ve been waiting for since the campaigns started wayyy back when. It’s a day we get to witness the democratic and peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. It’s the day the “change” is set in motion.
I remember my first Inauguration Day. January 20, 1993. I was six years old and my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hallas was walking our class from our “special” (art, music, gym, german, environmental science, I can’t really remember) back to our classroom and along the way she brought us into the school’s auditorium. She brought us over to this tiny TV – it couldn’t have been more than 15″. It was on top of one of those TV carts that you see in every school. This particular cart was a lovely shade of somewhere between sea foam and pea green. She stood us around the TV and said “boys and girls, this man is going to be our new president.” We were the only people in the auditorium. (And these are the days before there was internet and TV in every classroom.) On the screen, I remember it quite vividly, was Bill Clinton with his hand raised. He was being sworn in. Now, I don’t remember much from kindergarten except for the occasional millisecond flashback of coloring in a gumball machine with our flat crayons or playing “house” with Erin and Christie in the classroom’s miniature wooden kitchen, but the memory of seeing my first inauguration has always been one of the most outstanding.
I think it’s a combination of the serendipitous timing and our teacher’s realization of the importance of the moment even though we were just 5 and 6 years old. We may have learned to read and write and color in the lines that year, but I don’t really remember any of that. What I remember is the five minutes my teacher took out of our regular schedule to show us something that has stuck with me for the 15+ years since. This quick diversion instilled in me the importance of tradition and of being aware and of being a part of the process. And I was only 6 years old!
It’s the memories like this that really make me value my early education and the teachers who didn’t think we were too young to appreciate something like an inauguration.
Today is going to be one of those days that we’ll tell our grandkids about. Today is our generation’s moonwalk. Today’s the day we get to see history happening right in front of us. I may not be in Washington DC, but you can be sure that I will be glued to any and all news sources I can get my eyes on. Not because I want to hear the pundits pundit and not because I won’t really have anything else to do at that time. It’s because today is a day that will go down in history. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty darned cool to be a witness to history.