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Linglestown Gazette: Obama inauguration: (Sort of a) witness to history

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama inauguration: (Sort of a) witness to history

By Jay Purdy
For Linglestown Gazette

I caught the 5 a.m. bus departure from the Harrisburg Mall.

We made great time, around two hours, to our destination, RFK stadium, jumping onto shuttle buses to make the blazing fast five-minute trip for our bus to creep the final half-mile of the dash downtown in the lightning time of one hour.

Emerging from the bus dressed for the cold like the kid brother in Christmas Story, I calmly walked over to the cherished purple ticket entrance gate on the other side of the Capitol, a trek reminiscent of the Israelites wandering the desert for 40 years, to arrive at my Promised Land, a mass of about 10,000 other holders of rare purple tickets languishing at an intersection only feet from West Virginia – the state, not the street.

But our land flowing with milk and honey remained out of our reach behind 10-foot tall steel barricades. It seems Joshua had issued too many tickets.

Off in the distance, we heard the feint notes of "Ruffles and Flourishes," and the cheers sweeping through 3 million of our fellow citizens, followed by the surprising close methodic crash of the 21-gun salute.

As some of my impromptu compatriots on our version of the "three-hour tour" surrendered to the despair that we were so near, yet so far, I counseled them that things could be worse – George W. Bush could still be president. Those around me agreed and we melted away, each seeking their own path to salvation – a way back to whence we came, consoled that in our way, we were part of history – well, sort of.

The bus made great time back to Harrisburg.
____
Jay Purdy is a former Lower Paxton Twp. supervisor, a member of the Lower Paxton Historical Society, an avid Civil War reenactor, and a big-time Obama supporter.
____
Photos by Jay Purdy. Top: Buses arrive back in Egypt (RFK Stadium) from the Promised Land. Bottom: Unidentifiable important people bidding farewell as George W. Bush boards Marine 1. Click on pictures to view larger versions.


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10 Comments:

At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The gratuitous GWB slam diminishes the value of this report to just about zero.

Very disappointing in a blog about Linglestown. When attacks like this are promulgated, all sides are diminished.

 
At 2:09 PM, Blogger  said...

Thanks for the feedback, Anonymous.

This post is a first-person account by a Gazette reader, and the views expressed are neither endorsed nor condemned by the blog's publisher, Bill Bostic.

Also, I'm trying to provide local news and community calendar info for Lower Paxton Twp., not just Linglestown. Jay Purdy lives in LP, and I think it's appropriate to give him a forum on the Gazette.

Like Jay, all readers are welcome to submit articles or op-ed pieces for me to review and possibly publish.

Finally, anonymous comments currently are welcomed but taken with a grain of salt. Please consider getting a FREE Google account that displays your name on comments.

 
At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Jay Purdy said...

I simply relayed what actually happened. I would understand that, had the setting been reversed, someone could have reported having told the people around them: "It could be worse, Barack Obama could still be president."
It was meant as political humor like one would hear on Leno or Letterman, nothing more.
Thanks, Jay

 
At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

22nd amendment limits the president to two terms. So Bush would not still be president.

 
At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Jbear said...

At least you can say you were there for a big moment in history.

It was certainly a day that made me proud to be an American.

 
At 6:36 PM, Blogger  said...

Anonymous comments, and Harry's response to one of them, that did not advance Jay Purdy's story have been deleted.

 
At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Jay Purdy said...

Amen to that, Jbear.
Anonymouses may say what they want, but it was tremendous being part of a massive American celebration of a transition in power that few nations have as a tradition. Obama has noted several times how gracious GWB was in the process, and when Marine 1 lifted off, there was only applause from the people around me.
So we didn't get in to see the ceremony ... compare that to what Obama said in his address refering to Washington's troops at Valley Forge and their bloody footprints in the snow. Our disappointment is miniscule when compared to what they went through. We should in fact celebrate our disappointment in that so many of our fellow Americans joined us to witness az great moment in our nation's history.

 
At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article - I was very disappointed when my plans to attend fell through but enjoyed the view in my warm home. What a great day to say we are an American!

 
At 7:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sister has a similar story. She did get into her party afterwards. Making it all worth the trip. It's great to see that despite some disappointment everyone had a good attitude about it. I have to admit that Mr. Purdy dragging extra batteries and water, while puffing heavily and just missing the event has a vision of humor in itself. It’s just the way things seem to happen. But I’m glad he made the best of it.

 
At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Patrick Sullivan said...

Sorry to hear the problems some had in the tunnel. I made it through, so I must have been about an hour ahead of the problems. It was a great day and the fact that there were no arrests in a crowd of over 1.8 million speaks volumes.

 

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