Tuesday, January 20, 2009


As the nation gets ready for the oath of office of our new President, I cannot help but think of when my family and I attended both President Carter’s and President Reagan’s inaugurations. Since I couldn’t remember the dates, I Googled the dates this morning and realized that Reagan’s was twenty years ago.

At the time, we lived about 60 miles out of Washington DC in the lovely college community of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The town was three miles from the famous Antietam Battlefield – considered the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

Our tickets, which seated us in front of the Capitol, were obtained from Senator Byrd the Senator of our State of West Virginia. All we had to do was ask for tickets.

For Carter’s Inauguration it was cold, like today in Washington, D.C. We took the train in and armed ourselves with thermos bottle of hot chocolate and every warm piece of clothing we could muster up in this normally temperate climate.

Reagan’s Inauguration was marked by brilliant sunshine. The mood was filled with excitement as we were waiting to hear if the hostages had been released. Right after Reagan took the oath, the hostages were freed. Yellow balloons were released and the crowd cheered.

As I watch activities on television today, I feel so honored that my family has had the opportunity to experience this amazing tradition. No question this is a historic day. There is already a little lump in my throat. It is wonderful so many people can experience this day in person. Even if this day didn’t include all kinds of firsts, it will forever be etched in peoples’ minds of the people who made the journey to witness this time in history.

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