QC Blog: History in the Making

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History in the Making

I just finished watching the inauguration of Barack Obama. They estimate 1.4 million people were in the Washington Mall area to see it. It was an incredible moment in US History. I'm so proud of the American people to see past the color barrier and elect him as our President.

I really loved when Aretha Franklin sang My Country 'Tis of Thee -what an awesome HAT she had on. She wore it with style. Chrissie took me to a play once that was about black women and the hats they wear and how they assume the dignity to then wear it with style. Wasn't the poem that was read after the oath of office wonderful too? The writer even mentioned stitching a hem in the poem so it ties into quilting, sorta. (quite a stretch). I love watching all the protocol surrounding the actual ceremony. The order of things - visiting the White House, having "coffee", making their way together to the site of the inauguration, how beautiful Michelle Obama looked and how cute Obama's girls looked. His oldest daughter had her digital camera. Then they had dozens of big screen TVs in the Washington Mall this time. (I don't recall that for Clinton), so the people miles away could see his face on the screen. The way everyone files in and is announced by that guy with the big voice on the speaker (wonder who he is).

Until you're about 25 or 30 years old, you think your life just revolves around you and you're just living your life, then one day you realize, you're living "HISTORY." This was one of those days.


Anonymous said...

January 20, 2009
Inaugural Poem

The following is a transcript of the inaugural poem, “Praise Song for the Day,” written and recited by Elizabeth Alexander, as provided by Graywolf Press.

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
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 some one 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 thyself,
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 pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

Eli said...

I love every line of this poem, by Elizabeth Alexander. She read it so beautifully, which gives it more meaning when I read the text. Personally, my favorite images are:

"A teacher says, 'Take out your pencils. Begin.'"


"the figuring-it-out on kitchen tables."

and one that describes who you are (in my eyes), MJ,

"each one of our ancestors on our tongues."

"...others, who said
I need to see what's on the other side."

The song also arranged & written by I. Perlman...it was beautiful.
Wow...the talents of so many people always startle me! They are all different, unique, personal...

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