Thursday, January 22, 2009
Two million friends in Washington
We lived 11 years in the Washington, D.C., area. I worked as a journalist and Dee worked as a social worker. The city is a remarkable place to see art and history, most of it free. But it sometimes was not the friendliest place. White and African-American cultures often seemed to look past one another in daily life and commerce, each barely acknowledging the presence of the other.
Not the past few days, though, when Barack Obama assumed office and everyone on and around the National Mall was smiling and happy and friendly. I can't speak for the black people who were there to celebrate the first African-American president, but I can tell you that the ones we saw and talked with were happy, cheering and teary. And so were the white, Asian and other people in the crush of freezing Americans who gathered Sunday for a free concert at the Lincoln Memorial and Tuesday to witness Obama's swearing-in.
Here are a few photographs from the happy - and we hope auspicious - beginning of what is likely to be a difficult four years.
The two women giving the thumbs-up to the camera are Dee and our friend Julie Doyle, who traveled to D.C. with us.
(Our thanks to potter friend Lorraine Colson, who put us up, taxied us to and from the Metro station, and fed us. We promised her we wouldn't tell the world that she runs the best bed-and-breakfast in Northern Virginia. So we won't.)