Saturday, January 23, 2021

Inagural Impressions

The memories of Wednesday's Inauguration are swirling still in my head in so many ways. So many powerful and patriotic visions: 

The National Mall, adorned with nearly 200,000 flags. These flags represented the missing spectators due to the pandemic due to travel and gathering restrictions. Additionally, double that number and it serves as a poignant visual, mirroring the fact that we crossed 400,000 Covid deaths on Inauguration Eve.
The Capitol Building draped in flags and regalia, like a superhero standing strong. A compelling icon of resilience after the insurrection on January 6th. It may have been damaged, but but certainly not destroyed nor daunted nor diminished. Instead: durable, determined, stalwart, steadfast, and a symbol of our strength as a nation.

The symbolic purple our first female Vice President Kamala Harris (and others) wore that day. Vice President Harris words it as a nod to Shirley Chisholm (one of her personal political inspirations) and the first black woman elected to Congress. Additionally, reports are that some wore purple as the color of suffragettes (along with white and gold). Electing our first female to this powerful office is certainly a suffragette moment. Additionally, what do you get when you blending of red of Republicans and the blue of Democrats? A passionate purple, creating a visual representation of bipartisanship and unity.

The pearls Kamala wore. This has become a style statement of hers, tying back to her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority days and the symbolism of pearls to them. Many people, myself included, also wore pearls that day as well as Election Day. Mine came as a birthday gift this past fall from my husband as a nod to Ruth Bader Ginsberg (for both her infamous collars and her passing on Sept. 18th, 2020). Other people also wore pearls on both Election & Inauguration Day to commemorate the the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote along with a female on the Vice Presidential ticket. I've been calling mine my "pandemic pearls" and wearing them throughout the entire Election-to-Inauguration season.

The heartfelt words of unity, hope, healing, and empathy in President Joe Biden's inaugural address. He knows he has a big task ahead of him as president to a very philosophically divided country. I don't envy his job, but I am thankful that he is taking it on, and doing so with such compassion.

The amazing grace and confidence of 22-year old poet laureate Amanda Gorman as she gave her inaugural poem. Words worth hearing again. PBS NewsHour has put together lessons plans for middle and upper school graders centered around Amanda's Poem "The Hill We Climb." 

With the start of this new administration, I certainly honor President Biden and the enormous task he has ahead. It's my hope that these visions that are swirling in my mind are ones that can help us all as a country heal. We need to remember we are the 'United' States of America. May we all listen and learn from each other so we all can all lend a hand and lead! And may we take these words that Amanda shared to heart:

We've learned that quiet isn't always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we've weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

Images from: 
Capitol Building picture by Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama, & Hillary Clinton in purple from
Amanda Gorman's text from the transcript of her Inaugural poem here:

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