Many have been anticipating this inauguration day for a long time. And many are dreading it. Our country is torn in half. Which makes me incredibly sad. But yesterday as I was sharing with my children about inauguration day, preparing them for probably the first one they will remember (they’ve witnessed several via television but were too young to pay attention or care), they asked me about the first president I watched sworn into office. So I began to think and my first recollection was Jimmy Carter. But there’s a memory before that … a different type of inauguration day … it was the summer I was ten. My family was in Colorado on vacation, and all the adults at the YMCA Camp of the Rockies were suddenly swarming around the only television in the camp. President Nixon was giving his speech from the Oval Office, resigning. Gerald Ford then took the oath and became President of the United States. Not under the best circumstances.
I’m not sure that’s a great memory for my first inauguration. But that’s how it is.
But I have many memories after that … of Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter walking down Pennsylvania Avenue. Wasn’t he wearing a blue sweater? I can’t forget Ronald Reagan taking the oath with Nancy at his side. Then, George Bush, and Barbara telling the press corps before the big balls, “This is as good as it gets.” I just love her. Then, of course, the Clinton years. And, George W. Bush, with his gracious wife, Laura.
It’s that graciousness that I’m thinking about today, how many rotten things have been said about our current president, and yet in spite of it all, the Bush family has been gracious hosts to the Obamas. And it will be so today. We live in a country where there is a peaceful transfer of power every four years. What a blessing. I am praying for our new president and his family, for their safety, for wisdom and discernment. I am praying for our country.
And welcome back to Texas, George W. and Laura Bush. If I see you in Dallas, I will be proud to thank you for the work you have done to keep our country safe. And to the Obamas, may you stand guard in the White House with the same determination as your predesessor.
So, what are you thinking about today? What is the first inauguration that you remember?