It is exciting, thrilling, inspiring, patriotic, and at times, capable of watering the eyes a bit. I love the pomp and circumstance, and the pageantry. When the former presidents and first ladies descend the stair case to the main inaugural platform, I am always moved.
In 1973, I watched my first inauguration when President Nixon was sworn in for his second term. Today is the fortieth anniversary of my first inauguration, and my twelfth, including the swearing-in ceremony of President Ford in August 1974.
I realized, today, just how the first-daughters have grown into beautiful young ladies. In my life, I’ve watched Amy Carter and Chelsea Clinton grow up, watch the George & Barbara Bush grandchildren grow up, see the George & Laura Bush daughters mature and marry, and now the Obama daughters. I especially remember the White House rose garden wedding of Tricia Nixon.
Right now, President Obama has descended the stairs to the main platform. Hearing “Ruffles & Flourishes” followed by “Hail To The Chief” often brings tears to my eyes. I love hearing the march on inaugural day. However, the march is heartbreaking when played, at a slower tempo, for the funeral of a former president. Even in these varied moments, music plays an incredible role. Ahhh…. music!
My favorite inaugurations are always when there is an actual transition of power. I am always sad – regardless the president and his political affiliation – to see the first family leave the White House, witness their walk down the inaugural stand stairs, and finally, their farewell to Washington when they bid are escorted to the Capital’s East Front to depart by helicopter.
My son, Quintin, is watching his first inauguration. My older sons also watched their first inaugurations with me, and together, we watched the funerals of former presidents Reagan and Ford.
In twenty-minutes, an oath will be taken, the guns will offer a salute, and “Hail to the Chief” will resound the conclusion of the ceremony.
God bless, America!