Saturday, January 24, 2009

Inauguration Weekend

What an opportunity it has been to live in Washington, DC during another major transition period in American history. I have learned a lot about freedom, race, and what it really means to be an American. I have always been extremely proud to be an American, but now that I am in DC, living, breathing, and teaching government, I really cannot express how great of a blessing it really is to be a citizen of the United States.

Kennedy Center--Aretha Franklin Rehearsal
It is true. We went to Aretha Franklin's warm up. I might mention that Aretha Franklin was not there, but that is besides the point. Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, was a crazy day! We woke early to travel into DC to stand in the freezing cold to get tickets to the Let Freedom Ring concert which featured Georgetown's Let Freedom Ring Concert and Aretha Franklin. Our group got a bit separated between the Oprah and Aretha lines and only two of seven received tickets. Kristen ended up schmoozing a man who worked at the Kennedy Center and for some odd reason, he took all of us backstage honestly doing everything he could to attempt to get us tickets to the evening show. He was unsuccessful but took us into the warm up!!! We could not believe it!!! The concert was incredible. So incredible. I felt like I was at a black southern Baptist church again. I have not seen so much musical talent in quite some time. Wow.

Then...Mike felt bad because he couldn't get us tickets, so he took us down the hall to sit in on a Jazz rehearsal. It was also incredible! I guess it never hurts to have connections. He called us tonight to see if we were interested in going to a show with Bill Cosby and others, but we were in Philadelphia. He's a very generous man to think of us!
Tonic Restaurant
nauguration Eve, we went out to eat with Colleen's sister Cathy
All 8 of us spent the night at her studio apartment in the Foggy Bottom-George Washington University area. So squishy, yet so fun!
Then we walked down Georgetown. There were lots of Obama art galleries and shops. Don't worry--there was even a store that sold nothing but Obama pajama's. I have never seen such a craze. This is myself, Susie, and Wendy by a random Obama van parked on the side of the road. We met up with some Barlow Center folks while we were out that evening. They told us about their plan to watch the Inauguration from Utah Senator Hatch's Senate Office Delegation Party (I don't know if they called it a party...maybe more of a mourning with hot chocolate and food).
Inauguration day at last! It's early and people are beginning to arrive on the Mall.
Jumbo-trons were placed everywhere so people could actually see what was going on. They replayed pictures from the concert from the Lincoln Memorial held on Sunday Afternoon.
Please notice the Port-a-Potty's in the background. There were hundreds...but only enough for 1 per 400 people. Lovely, I know.
Seriously. They were EVERYWHERE!!!
These police officers were from all over the country. We asked one of them for directions to figure out how to get around the closed roads and in a familiar southern twang he said, "I dunno, I'm from Georgia."National Mall
Capitol Building and people hurrying to claim their territory for the upcoming 7 hours of FREEZING cold waiting.
While we watched from the warm indoors...
Obamarama might have hit us too...
(a Duke Ellington graduate designed these...we supported)
But I kept dear Mitt Romney near and dear to my heart under Obama. haha...
Our group gathered around the table.
We could see the capitol from the window, but watched the footage on tv's placed around the room. This is the footage of President Bush leaving in his helicopter after the ceremonies ended.
We even played inaugural bingo and picked words we thought he would mention in his speech. Imagine General Conference bingo. They could definitely tell we were from BYU.
And this is the view of the President and First Lady leaving from our window. I am very grateful for the service of President George W. Bush and the First Lady, Laura Bush. I know it hasn't been easy, especially with so much criticism. While I do not agree with all President Bush has done, I am proud to be an American and I truly have felt safe under the President's protection. In the classroom and in the media, he is constantly attacked. Recently, I have felt it is my duty to defend anything conservative. In the class, I call it being the "devil's advocate" when in reality I get to present my personal political opinions. It is great. Anyways, I have realized how ignorant so many of us are in the world of politics and how we need to work harder to understand the policies before we cast criticism. I have learned much from President Bush and his sense of humor, love of family and country, and patriotism. I thank him for eight years of unappreciated, selfless service.


andersson-whanau said...

Amber, You are just plain AMAZING! What a heartfelt post. Your words resonate deeply with me as I have felt so much the same about Pres. Bush. He has undergone extreme criticism during his presidency, unfairly so. I'm sure the media's love affair with our new president will save us from the same discrepancies. I look forward to Pres. Obama and am anxious to see what road this country travels. Glad you are living the dream! We love you!

Linze Kate said...

You saw Aretha?! Dang girl - you ARE living the dream! Haha... Oh, and I love the picture of you with the Obama shirt over the Romney shirt. Haha!
You are so great to post all of this - I hope you collect it and put it on a disk or print it off... because your posterity is going to LOVE this! What a blessing we are given to live in different places and experience so many different things. I feel so blessed, as I am sure you do.
Congrats on your first day of teaching - I'm proud of you! :)

Lisa said...

I LOVE YOU!!! You would wear a Mitt Romney shirt on Inauguration day! You are so lucky to get to do all of those things! I am so glad we have blogs to keep up with each other!