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January 23, 2009


Lovely, Beth.

Fantastic story, Beth and photos, J! Really made me feel like I was right there, along with the tears in my eyes too! Being present at this historic event must be a highlight in your life. Thank you for sharing it all in this lovely series!

the story about the young girl with your tea was so telling. somehow, we need to reach each other, need to be able to look into one another's eyes with recognition just as you did. I'm praying Obama can help us do that.

Why are some people called black, others no color, in your story?
If skin color is important should it not be assigned to everyone?
Otherwise the otherness of color keeps being perpetuated as color is only mentioned when it is different (black in this case).

Beth, so moving. Thank you. The photos are amazing and give such a sense of the incredible numbers of people and what you all went through to get there and away again. The TV coverage did not reflect this at all; we were so removed from the action (at least CNN sure didn't go among the crowds--it was all about the platform). Such a joyful joyful day; thank you for bringing it to us.

I do wonder what the very last photographic image is? So mysterious!

Thanks for this, Beth. Beautiful reportage. :-)

What they all said, doubled. The photos are....can't find enopugh superlatives....absolutely stunning. Could they be exhibited somewhere? They should be widely seen - a book? A slideshow? A magazine special issue?

Chris, thank you. I would have liked to hear what you would have written about the event if you'd been there, too.

Marja-Leena, yes, it will be one of those memorable life experiences, for sure - Jonathan was at the March on Washington during Vietnam, too, and the comparison was significant for him. I am not really an Obama crusader; I strongly support him and wish him well, but he's not, and can't be, the messiah some people are making him out to be. For me it was about the historical significance, and relief about the end of the Bush years.What we must remember though is that American politics tends to move in pendulum swings. Obama's election doesn't mean the conservative point of view is gone, or even defeated, except temporarily. That's another reason the stakes are so high right now.

Mary, I hope so too. It has to help.

EJ, basically I agree with you but it is pretty difficult to do. (I hope my intent is clear and that's not part of your criticism.) Nearly everyone described in my story *was* black, but I certainly didn't say "a white man", etc. It is a story about race, so the word is hard to avoid, and "black" seems to be the preferred term in American English usage among blacks themselves, so this is the word I have used. I think there's a difference between describing people in general by their skin color, when the color isn't an issue at all, and using the terms because it is necessary - for instance, sometimes it is politically uncorrect to use gender-specific language, but in an essay or in fiction, it would be ridiculous not to distinguish between male and female characters. If you have suggestions for how to write a story like this in a different way, please recast a few of my sentences and share them here, I'm very open to hearing more.

Diana - thanks - you've pointed out one of the most striking things for us. "On the ground", so to speak, it was so much about the crowd. But on TV, and in the video clips I've seen afterwards, you'd hardly know who the people were, individually. yes, the size of the multitude made news and made for some good pictures, but who were the people in that unprecedented crowd, and what were their stories?

The last picture is of the (relatively new) Pentagon Memorial, and the building beside it is the Pentagon - you're seeing one of the five faces. I'll write a little more about this in my next post.

Thank, Ivy. If you had been there we'd have a fine poem about it now!

Natalie, thank you, I'm sure J. will be very happy to read your comments! He's working on them and I hope he'll find a way to exhibit some of these images, because, like Diana said above, they do tell a different story.

This was a lovely story to read - it brought tears to my eyes - even days after the event - it still moves me to think about it.

The words and the pictures are lovely. The two of you have such good hearts. I love seeing the inauguration through your eyes.

what a wonderful account of an extraordinary day
Jonathan's photos are eqaully wonderful.
Thank-you both for being so generous in sharing with us

For EJ, I'd suggest that you've only specified the race on an individual in your account when it was contextual to either the feeling they were expressing or the one it invoked in you. Similar to your mention to the 'age' of the woman having her feet massaged. Race, like age is a qualifier in this account, I'd suggest.

thank you for sharing your moving experience with us.

The photos are wonderful and make me feel (almost) as if I were there. I wonder who cleaned up all the papers I see on the ground. It seems like there was quite a mess afterwards.

Thanks for this fantastic eyewitness report. The Bush jeers didn't make it onto the newscast we were watching—rather alarming. Guess we haven't elected new media. Here's to the internet! I loved J's photos—a poignant and personal view. An online gallery perhaps...

A beautiful account, and a great read. My daughter, who lives in England, says that suddenly America is popular again in the wider world. But I fear that Bush has left his legacy. The right has gone back immediately to the tired old slogans (for example, "The worst of the worst" about Guantanamo.) It will take a lot of undoing to reverse the harm that the right has done to this country. It wasn't just Bush and Cheney. There are a lot of their henchmen left.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.