Witnessing History

PRIM&R is excited to welcome a new addition to our team—Joanna Cardinal, our membership manager.

Before coming to PRIM&R earlier this month, I spent five years living in Washington, DC, and I was lucky enough to return for the presidential inauguration last week.
What struck me most wasn’t the historic moment, nor was it the large crowds. It was the sense of community that everyone shared. I’m part of the so-called “apathetic generation.” However, I’ve found myself wondering if perhaps being apathetic has less to do with age and more to do with access to inspiration.
Never before had I found myself engaging with so many strangers in such a short time. In restaurants, on the National Mall, in grocery stores, on the Metro, on sidewalks, at events and in airports I talked to hundreds of exuberant people about President Obama and our nation’s future. A lot of people spoke about wanting to be in DC to share in the celebration with the expected crowd of millions. I did hear a few stories of problematic travel to and at the event, but even the people who were unable to reach the Capitol have formed a community nearly 6,000 strong … a Facebook group titled “Survivors of the Purple Tunnel of Doom.”
While people certainly came to celebrate, everyone seemed to grasp that President Obama is but one man and cannot change this nation’s course alone. We all took to heart to hear Obama’s words when he was inaugurated,
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
Here’s to a new year, a new president and a new sense of community. I hope to see everyone again in four years!
If you were there, we’d love to hear about your experience. Even if you weren’t, please share your thoughts or comments below.