Soon after watching the days events on a small TV in the newsroom, I got to thinking about how old I was when former President Bush came into office. I was 19. Now 27, I feel like a lifetime has passed since then. Before today the thought of taking a train or bus down to DC to stand in the frigid cold for hours with millions of people didn't seem appealing in any way (much like Times Square on New Years). But after hearing from listeners who had made the trip this morning on Where We Live... and after watching the events unfold on television - the long bus rides, long lines and frost bitten toes may have been worth it.
I put a call out to our Facebook friends to get some reaction to the inauguration:
I've never seen such crowds anywhere, and we were jammed like sardines at times and stood in line for hours at others. But people broke out into songs and chants or just talked with strangers from other states like we were all old friends. It was bitter cold and magic and exuberant, everyone crying or cheering as President Obama took the oath. -Maura Keaney
It's amazing to see such a huge segment of the American population together to celebrate. Lets all hope we can keep it up and pull ourselves out of the recession and the Wars. -Carl Lantz
Never in my life would I have imagined that we would have an African-American president; and one who mentioned lesbians and gays in his acceptance speech the night he was elected. Never have I been so proud to be an American and so proud to have cast my vote for President Barack Obama. - Shawn Lang
I have to echo the words of now First Lady Michelle Obama, on the campaign trail, I have never been more proud of America...and in my own words, I am no longer ashamed of my president. My best wishes to the new President as he begins his historic administration. - Paige Smith
40 years ago I graduated from high school. In my adult life never have I felt so hopeful about the direction my country was aimed toward as I do today. Now it really is about us, all of us. President Obama can lead. His administration can propose smart policies. Congress can make smart choices. But it still comes down to what all of us actually do.
Hartford is my city. Hartford has been hurting for generations. We have all found others to blame for our misfortunes. Blame business, blame state government, blame city hall, blame the fathers, blame the suburbs, blame the north end, blame the south end, blame the mothers, blame the youth, blame the schools, blame the teachers, blame the non-profits, blame the police... Will all of us who have a stake here now stop the blame game and step up to say what part of the solution we intend to be? For the first time in decades, I am disposed to think indeed we will. - Tim Cole
We snagged an interview with the official "Inaugural Poet", Elizabeth Alexander from Yale. Personally, I was excited to see (and hear) poetry front and center during the ceremonies. I can't imagine the pressure of a) following the President and b) writing a poem that encompasses everything about this particular election and the historic nature of this particular day. In the end, we were very impressed.
Praise song for the day.
Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."
We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.
We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."
We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.
Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.
Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."
Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.
What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.
In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.
Tomorrow, Where We Live, following along some of what Dr. Alexander talks about... words. How we say words, how we use words, and how important language is... from politician-speak to every day rambling. You'll even hear Dankosky talk about some of his verbal blunders.