Thursday, January 22, 2009
Inauguration Day 2008
Inauguration Day 2008 has come and gone. The United States has a new president, and the world waits to see what will happen.
But first, we must celebrate, and celebrate we did. As ardent Barack Obama supporters, this was a great day, albeit one that was thousands of miles away with an ocean between us from the center of the action. Thing One and Thing Two both dressed for the occasion, with Thing One wearing his red-and-blue rugby and Thing Two wearing his red jumper with an American flag on the front. Thing Two planned to explain what it was all about to his Year 1 class, and I will forever remember him running to school, clutching a copy of the New York Times supplement with a picture of Barack Obama on the cover.
The pressure to have something to do was immense, given that nearly everyone I knew asked me what my plans for the day were. Lots of (British) friends also congratulated me, much like they did after Election Day, saying how great it was that the U.S. finally had an inspirational leader.
This was one of the rare times where the time difference actually was in our favour, since most events such as the Super Bowl and the Oscars test our allegiance and interest by making us get up in the middle of the night to watch. The BBC actually had full coverage on BBC One, but we ended up showing our national pride by watching CNN instead. With the swearing in scheduled for 5 p.m. GMT/ noon EST, that meant we'd be able to get home from school, watch the pre-game festivities, and then watch the main event. Since I usually work until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, that meant that I had to rearrange my schedule to do it, but I thought there was no way I wasn't going to watch this with them.
"This is history," I kept telling them. "You will remember this for the rest of your life."
I thought the best way to imbed the memory would be to make them things that they loved, so I made inauguration cupcakes (with blue icing and red-and-white sprinkles) and we ate ice cream sundaes to celebrate once Obama finished his speech.
The boys weren't impressed with the lead-up to the main event. "Why is that lady talking so long?" they asked when Dianne Feinstein made her short introduction. "Why is that big man talking?" they asked when Rick Warren gave his invocation. Finally it was time for a nervous Obama to take the oath ( Chief Justice John Roberts gave him the wrong line, making him retake the oath later) and give his speech. By this time the time the speech was over, the boys had well and truly lost interest, with Thing One figuring out how far he could jump, and Thing Two making a spaceship out of the sofa. But I loved every minute of it.
Will they remember this day for the rest of their life? I hope so, but I know I will.