‘We Are Finally Proud to Be Americans’
One man’s short take after watching the Inauguration through the trees at the southern edge of the WWII Memorial:
There were few surprises through the ceremony, but there was no shortage of “changing-of-the-guard” symbolism — the recognition among the gathered that the Bush-era ends none too soon, and the pessimism of the last eight years might finally turn toward hope.
It came in the form of President Barack Obama’s calls for universal sacrifice — something the Bush administration never asked of the country as a whole, and for which we will long suffer the consequences.
It came in the form of the “Arrest Bush” signs that went up like a sea of butterflies when the now-former president appeared before the crowd on the National Mall’s giant screens.
It came in the form of the “Close Gitmo” protest at the western edge of the Washington Monument, where hooded inmates reminded the crowd of America’s sins — and of Obama’s promises to shutter the prison.
It came in the form of former Vice President Dick Cheney being pushed to the stage in a wheelchair, after hurting his back while moving.
It came in the form of Pastor Rick Warren invoking the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which moved closer to being realized today.
And lastly, and perhaps put best, it came in the form of the guy who strutted up 19th Street after the show, the sign over his head proclaiming simply, “We Are Finally Proud to Be Americans.”