Do you remember where you were for July 4, 1976? I 'celebrated' our nation’s Bicentennial by watching my sister read her mail. She had just returned from vacation, and I was reluctant to venture out by myself, living in the big city of Suburban Chicago. I have since learned to leave the wallflowers at home, and seek my own wallpaper. On Friday night, the cabin fever set in, and I ventured out seeking the company of other humans, leaving my hubby home to play with his electronic devices. I found live music at the 318 Café in Excelsior, and engaged in conversation with Pam from Eden Prairie. My decision to venture out on a winter evening was richly rewarded.
'Living history' can be more than just remembering where we were on Pearl Harbor Day in 1941, or on 9-11 in 2001. The bad days will find us whether we seek them or not. The good times will not usually find us, unless we win that elusive sweepstakes when we answer the knock at the door. No, the good times usually require that we actively to seek them.
One of my 'good times' in living history came four years ago, when Golden Valley neighbor Elaine suggested “We should throw a party!” when we were discussing the inauguration of the 44th President. And party we did! We are fortunate to have the Hopkins Center for the Arts as an excellent venue in our community to celebrate special events. Our January 2009 celebration included music, food, a cash bar, a program with music and remarks, a color guard and our National Anthem. Looking at the photos from that event, I see and remember the joy that people experienced in celebrating January 20, 2009 as a moment in American History.
A moment in history presents another opportunity this month, when the United States of America inaugurates a President for the 57th time in our history. The recently released movie, “Lincoln,” ends with the second inauguration of the 16th President, Abraham Lincoln; like Barack Obama, first elected to federal office from Illinois. The ceremony will be on the west portico (Mall) side of the United States Capitol, moved by Ronald Reagan to better accommodate the public.
While attending an Inaugural might be a lifetime opportunity, it also presents the logistics challenges of travel to the geographic area and the ceremonial site. The options include watching on TV at home. Or celebrating at a hometown venue with Main Street Minnesotans at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.
While most Americans are unlikely to be content with all of our election results from all of our elections, I think we can agree that we are fortunate to live under a Constitution that provides for representation elected by 'We the People.'
Anyone that isn’t grateful for that might be living in the wrong country.
And so I look forward to celebrating this new moment in American History in 2013 with my fellow Main Street Minnesotans. We can have our photo taken with a cardboard cutout President Obama and Vice President Biden, sing our national anthem, and feel that occasional pride that comes with being an American.