Garrett is always coming up with all sorts of outlandish ideas. He is always trying to convince me of some of his hair-brained schemes and so I’ve grown used to not always taking him so seriously. We are always pulling pranks on each other, cracking jokes, or trying to scare each other. My most favorite prank is to hide in a dark closet and wait for him to open the door. We are always trying to one up each other. So several weeks ago when Garrett told me he received an email offering the chance of a life time it was hard to believe him. “Wanna go to the Presidential Inauguration?” I looked at my husband and rolled my eyes. “Whatever,” I brushed him off. He retorted, “Seriously Jazz, we’d need to fly in a day early to grab our tickets from the Capitol, but do you want to go?” “Are you joking,” I begged. “Don’t kid!” He was serious. Senator John Boozman’s office, indeed, put Garrett’s name down for tickets to the inauguration of President Barack Obama. So we flew to Philly so I could spend time with two of my favorite women. We ate AMAZING food at Jones in downtown Philly.
We laughed, talked about life as bloggers (pft!), and cracked inappropriate jokes. I am utterly in love with Tori and the Kid (Liz and Cecily's daughters). Two of the coolest little girls on Earth. No hyperbole, folks. Seriously kind and good spirited children. We ended the night with classic selfies.
We left for D.C. and ventured around the city. We picked up our tickets in Senator Boozman's office. I laughed at the Bible placed on his desk, facing up so people could see its prominent position. It was crisp and looked barely touched, but I guess we all have ornamental Bibles, right? Geez, Arkansas!
The morning of the inauguration we arrived to our ticket area and stood in line for two hours and then stood in our spot for four more hours.
We watched celebrities walk by and take their seats, we watched dignitaries and legislators. I was a tad bit grumpy from my aching feet, but I smiled anyway.
I am not patriotic. I’ve never cried at the national anthem, and I’ve never felt my pride soar while saying the pledge of allegiance. I always struggled to see leaders who held mantel the things that I valued. I always wondered how much law makers could actually care about this African American, homeless, and queer girl from Oklahoma. Maybe that is the kind of jaded perspective that happens when people look around and fail to see any kind of leadership that reflects themselves. Barack Obama reflects me. Not only in his cultural heritage, but in his spiritual and political philosophies. As I listened to the PS22 Children’s Choir sing, and watched the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir file in and sing Hallelujah Chorus with etherial voices, I felt myself tearing up. I could barely feel my feet, but my heart was warm.
Finally, when President Barack Obama took the platform to speak I felt a huge smile spread across my face. This man is my president. The people around me held hands as Mr. President spoke. From all around us people shouted, “amen” and “preach Mr. President”. President Barack Obama lifted his headed and spoke,
“...For history tells us that while these truths [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] are self- evident, they have never been self-executing; while freedom is a gift from God it must be secured by His people on Earth.”
That moment stunned me. One simple phrase lifted itself from the rest of the speech and pierced my heart.
I am utterly amazed how so much of my life has changed. I’ve gone from growing up homeless to calling myself the first college graduate in my family to experiencing the 57th presidential inauguration. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me.