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By Diana Diamond

Inaugural reflections

Uploaded: Jan 20, 2021

The rapid repair of the country’s Capitol shows what our country can do. By Inauguration Day it was repaired, and bedecked with furling flags, appropriate red and blue carpets, military officials dressed in their best blues, bands playing patriotic marches and songs, solemnity and cheer. They were all, to me, a symbol of the ability of our country to try to come together from a vicious raging siege resulting in scarred buildings in our nation’s capital.

But we survived and now are going forward.

The Inaugural Ceremony was wonderful, full of all the pomp and circumstance needed to inaugurate Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. and Kamala Devi Harris as president and vice president of this country.

When Harris, a former local girl, stood on the platform, dressed in her Democratic blue coa, she took her oath delivered by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I knew that we now had someone who could easily step in and take command of our country.

I applauded when Biden was confirmed. And when the clock reached noon, which occurred during 22-year old poet laureate Amanda Gorman’s reading of her inspiring poem, l I realized that it was now over. He is gone, and no longer president of this country. Trump was, in my mind, one of the most incompetent and self-serving presidents the U.S. has ever experienced.

The entire inaugural ceremony made me feel proud to be an American, in ways I had not experienced. There was a thread of togetherness woven in Biden’s great inaugural speech, calling us to come together as a country. I hope that somehow we will, but it will take all of us to reach that “us” goal — not them and us. We can try to get rid of our anger because we, the people, have done that before.

I thought back four years ago when Trump was inaugurated. The day’s program was the same, except former President Barack Obama picked up Melania and Donald to ride to the Capitol together. That ceremony was eliminated because Trump was flying to Florida, refusing to attend. What an insult to this country.

Vice President Michael Pence was there at the ceremony, quiet but dignified, His presence accentuated Trump's absence. As for his departure after the Inauguration, usually the new president and wife lead the past president to an awaiting limo on the East Side of the Capitol. That didn’t occur because Trump had already landed in Florida. So Harris escorted Pence to the waiting limo.

I do have to comment on the clothes. Both Jill Biden and Kamala Harris wore chic designer outfits. The best-dressed woman, to me, was Michelle Obama in her magenta matching belted coat and dress, with a beautiful large gold, shining buckle on the belt.

Of course there is Lady Gaga’s dress to talk about — a black top with a large pin bedecked on the left, and a wonderful unusually full swirling bright red skirt. Two marines helped her down the stairs. If I wore that skirt, I would need two marines beside me to help walk anywhere.

I once attended John Kennedy’s inaugural. It had snowed the night before, and my husband, newborn child and I were living in Arlington, Virginia. Most Washingtonians don’t know much about snow, much less driving in it. We went, the highways were empty, and friends who didn't want to drive in the three inches of white powder, came over and watched our baby. Once at the Capitol, we were able to stand in the front row behind the seated dignitaries because most people stayed home.

It was an unusually cold and windy day, and when Kennedy was ready to give his address, he took his coat off and stood there in his suit. Leaders have many qualities, I thought — as I shivered away.

Halfway through, there was a small fire that started on the dais because of a malfunctioning heater. Poet Laureate Robert Frost, who was in his 80s, leaned down. I and I thought he was sick — but no, just trying to stamp out a fire. Poets also have many talents. After the ceremony, the dignitaries went inside for an elegant lunch. We ate hot dogs purchased from a street vendor.

That was years ago. Nowwe have a new era, and a new president. We should be proud, having survived the siege in the Capitol, and luckily, aside from a few skirmishes around state capitals, the country has remained relatively quiet since Jan. 6. . Let’s go forward together so we can, once again, all be proud Americans.