Inauguration Day Memories and What Would Martin Say? Giveaway

January 20, 2009 at 8:00 am | Posted in Family, LIfe | 12 Comments
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Photograph from Jimmy Carter Library, Atlanta, Georgia

Photograph from Jimmy Carter Library, Atlanta, Georgia

On January 20, 1977, I was just over 5 years old.  I was in kindergarten that year and what I remember was the parade.  What I remember is sitting on the carpet in front of the TV in our first family home in Sparta, MI.  I am not sure if I was watching the original telecast, but I could have been because I was the morning kindergarten class.  It could have been a recast, though.  At first I enjoyed watching President and Mrs. Carter walking down Pennsylvania Ave.  Then, I got very bored of listening to all the talking and wished that I could watch something else.  Today, I think Jimmy Carter’s Inaugural Parade was perfect for him.  He was and is a down to earth, good man.  Although there had already been two presidents during my then short life, Jimmy Carter is the first I remember.  Although my memories of him as president are dark due to the Iran Hostage Crisis that was to come, I am glad to have the memory of what it was like for a very young child to watch such a parade.  Because I remember Jimmy Carter’s day, I know that Emma, my 6 year old kindergartner, will remember Barack Obama’s.

Emma is in school today and I am at work.  She may get to watch the festivities at school, but just in case I’m DVRing it for later.  I would love to sit and watch Obama’s parade with her.  She will be a member of the first generation not to know an America without an African American president.  For her and her classmates, race will not be something that will keep a man from becoming the President of the United States.  When a man can become president, a man can do anything.  I hope that we don’t have to wait for Emma to watch an inaugural parade with her oldest child before the same can be said of women.

cover-of-what-would-martin-say Happy Inauguration Day!  Please leave a comment to this post about your impressions of today’s inauguration.  What did you think of the speech?  The parade?  What do you think was the most memorable moment?  What did you children think?  All comments about the inauguration left today will qualify to win a copy of Clarence B. Jones’ book, What Would Martin Say?


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  1. Although I’m looking forward to the inauguration itself, and President Obama’s speech later this morning, another personal highlight of the inaugural events was seeing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech in its entirety yesterday on CNN. I’d never listened to the enitre speech before, only the “I have a Dream” sections that are broadcast so often. These earlier parts of the speech were just as inspiring and thought-provoking it seemed to me. Also saw a brief interview with Clarence Jones. I would love to read his book.

  2. I am so thrilled that Obama won but after 8 long years, I am equally happy that Bush will no longer be the president.

    Today is a great day for this country and I really really hope that we can all pull together and get through the tough times ahead.

  3. I was in college when Jimmy Carter was elected, so you’re making me feel old.

  4. I am planning to spend as much of today around the house with the tv on as possible. I love the history and seeing the multitudes of people out there in the cold, waiting for President Obama. It is moving and inspirational.
    I think it is wonderful that you want to share this experience with your daughter.
    I’d love to win the book.

  5. I know what Martin would say today 1/20/09: “I’m proud of you, Mr. President”. Obama’s inaugural speech was so inspiring.

    Even if I don’t win this drawing I’m going to look for this book!

  6. My husband and I don’t ever let my 10 month old watch or even glance at tv, but today I sat down with him and watched the Inauguration. It was beautiful. I liked that he stumbled when taking the oath, it showed he is just like the rest of us, human, fallible. The poem read was incredible. I will remember this day fondly. For the first time in a long time, I have faith that things might actually get better.

  7. I’ll watch the speech tonight. Martin Luther King was assasinated on my 4th birthday. We were at our local IHOP because I was a pancake fanatic. The announcement came over the radio in the restaurant, and I can still recall the despairing look on my father’s face after he heard the news.

    This is a great day. Think of how far we’ve come! I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder to be an American than I am right now. Hooray for Obama! Hooray for us! I love eveyone today!

  8. I watched the inauguration this morning with my four-year-old, and he would look at the tv whenever I told him that someone important had come on stage. (“There’s Bill Clinton, remember we saw him speak this summer at the gym?”) Then he’d go back to playing.

    I recorded it in case my seven-year-old didn’t get to watch it at school, but he said they managed to fit all of the students in the library to watch. Apparently the school library is the only place in the school with cable (it’s a small school).

    Most memorable to me was when President Obama and his wife got out of the car and walked and waved to the crowd. The amount of security it would take for that to happen must be mind-boggling.

    The oath taking with the awkward pause was memorable, as was the poet with the strange cadence. I loved the classical music with Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma.

  9. I watched all day, and then re-watched with my husband last evening. Jimmy Carter was the first President I voted for, so I’ve seen numerous inaugurations, and certainly none have compared to the sense of excitement surrouding this one.

    Obama has that unique quality which makes him a perfect leader – he inspires people to personal greatness. During his speech, I felt as if he were a slightly stern, but loving father, addressing his children with the hard facts of life but providing positive ways to make a difference in our world and the world around us.

    O Happy Day!

  10. The Inauguration last night was breathtaking. All I kept saying to myself was “I am darn lucky to see this today.”

  11. I only got to watch bits and pieces of the inauguration, and all of it was after the fact. I was stuck in training all day yesterday and had to settle for watching a recorded version later. I didn’t get to see any of the parade, just the swearing in ceremonies and the speech. I thought President Obama did a wonderful job with the speech, some of which, of course, can be credited to his amazing speech writers.

  12. I missed it beacuase I had to work. I did watch them dance on stage together. They looked tired.
    I heard a clip of it on the radio. It’s amazing!

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