We can do this, if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. – Joe Biden
This day is a day of great hope. Because America wields such might and influence, what happens here can impact the world at large. Out of all the people attending the ceremony today, I was struck by the scintillating young poet – Amanda Gorman. President Biden was the fourth president to include a poet at his inauguration. Robert Frost was the first poet to speak. Because the snow was so bright, the ancient poet couldn’t read and so he recited a poem by heart for John Kennedy’s swearing in. Presidents Clinton and Obama were the other presidents to include poets in their celebration.
Not only did this young woman bring her poetry fully to life, the power of her words resonated deeply with my heart and soul. My pulse quickened and chest puffed out with pride at such lines as: “…We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be…”; and “…Love becomes our legacy, and, change, our children’s birthright…”. May these hope-filled words ring like a silver bell across the nation and around the world. It makes me proud to hear such a potent evoking of optimism coming from a twenty-two year old. As her poem says, “…The new dawn blooms as we free it. There’s always light if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
Ms. Gorman’s reciting her poem, “The Hill We Climb”
I’ve been a student of history for most of my life. Actually, I think all writers and artists are students of history. For we enter this world into an ever-unfolding drama in which we all play a part. On the timeline of history, America is a young country. A member of my family served with General George Washington at Valley Forge. He was a teenager suffering the hardships of forging a nation from the bitter roots of tyranny and mud of despotism. But each of those brave souls who took up arms to defend the country did so to protect and keep their families. So many Hollywood movies have included the scenes of people writing letters, looking at photos or calling loved ones to find the courage to face the terrors ahead. We all are the descendants of untold brave and inspiring souls.
I rose hours before dawn to drink in all this day has to offer. Most of all, these ceremonies symbolize the peaceful transfer of power. As such, they represent a renewal of the faith we have in freedom, liberty and justice for all. When the new president, and three former presidents, stood before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier I was reminded of my mom. The bugler played Taps, which is played at military funerals. The song always made my mother sad because it reminded her of her father’s funeral, when she was just a young girl. The handover of power that took place today includes that very solemn power of the President to send others to their deaths. And the new president understands that as well as any other president.
Let me add a touch of a mathematical strangeness to this great day. Although every moment is unique, this date is even stranger. Today and the following nine days are palindromes. A palindrome is a word, or number, that reads the same forwards and backwards. 120121; 12121; 12221; 12321; 12421; 12521; 12621; 12721; 12821;12921. On top of that this is the first inauguration day with a seven-digit palindrome date – 1-20-2021. And the next one won’t happen for a thousand years – 1-20-3021. So the number magic is very positive on this date also.
George Washington’s Inauguration took place in New York City on Thursday, April 30, 1789. The capital building where the inauguration took place was constructed during the American Civil War by President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln has represented the American Dream for so many people. There are many fantastic quotes from Lincoln, but one quote I have always loved concerns perseverance during times of great adversity. When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. – Abraham Lincoln We all must take this day as a starting point and move forward into the future with dignity, honor and love. Bless you all.