As I'm sitting in my writing chair in my den, I just can't sum up what today means for me and our country. I have just turned off the Inauguration that I watched for the second time today.
Let me begin by saying that this post is not about politics. The fact is that I don't talk much about politics here or in person as I believe, just as I believe about religion, that it is a personal choice.
This afternoon, my colleagues and I gathered in a conference room to watch the Inauguration. We were together, all from different backgrounds, races, religions, political beliefs, socio-economic status, but unified in our captivation of what we were witnessing today. What a great day for our country!
Seeing the passion in the eyes of those fortunate enough to witness it in person, feeling so much pride in my country, I was overwhelmed with emotion.
I was watching all the hoopla leading up to the swearing in. All the references to Lincoln, all the shots of the Lincoln Memorial and for a moment, my mind wandered a bit. It went back in time to 1989.
I was 19 years old and getting ready to move to Georgia from Virginia away from the only home I had ever known. My father had accepted a new job in Savannah and off we were all going. Away from my friends and extended family. On to a new life.
As a bit of a send-off, my two best friends and I went to Washington, DC for the day as we had done many times before. These two folks had become my sister and brother in the years we had known each other. We were an inseparable trio having met at work as teens and then gone to college together. Our other friends often referred to us as The Triad. These two people knew all my secrets.
That trip, we went to DC to shop at Tysons Corner, walk around The Mall and see the Smithsonian's. That evening, because we were too poor to get a hotel room (and had spent all our money on shopping and eating!), we had planned to head back to Norfolk when it got dark.
We went for a walk that night to the Lincoln Memorial and sat down to chat. We talked about life and where we thought it would take us. We laughed about the memories we had together and cried knowing that life would not be the same after I moved away.
We talked about how fortunate we were as friends to be living in that time and how thankful we were for those like Lincoln who went before us. As it was, even as recent as 20 years earlier, the time we were born, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for us to have been friends. We are a white woman, a black woman and an asian man. My sister and brother.
Hours and hours passed. We talked until the sun came up and we knew we had to return home. It was time for me to pack for my big move. Time for me to move on to my new life.
For the rest of my life, I will never forget that special night. I hold it as one of the most precious nights of my life. We were young, naive and full of hope. We had so many dreams and so many things we were going to accomplish. We did not know much about what our future held but we knew that whatever happened, we would be together.
Now, 20 years later, my "sister" and "brother" are still two of my best friends. We've changed, moved several times, fought, made up, hoped (and still hope) that our kids marry each other, been there for each other through illness, sadness and happiness. We've even added a fourth to our Triad over the years. One thing remains the same, we're still counting our blessings for each other and thanking those tireless people who made it possible for us to be friends.
God Bless you, Mr. President. I wish you well on your journey.