My MLK Day/Inauguration Day

Monday was both Martin Luther King Jr. Day (my favorite federal holiday) and the day of official celebrations for President Obama's second inauguration. I slept late.

The night before, however, I played "MLK Santa Claus" by putting up quotes from Dr. King all around the Georgetown campus. I think I chose relatively provocative quotes in most cases, rather than the oft-repeated ones that have grown to become so sanitized. In some cases I even made the quote appropriate for the place I put it: On one entrance to the new science building, I put the quote "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." And in the ICC (where all the would-be policy wonks have classes) I put up "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

Once I finally woke up the next day, I headed down to the National Mall to join in the Inauguration Day experience. I missed the inauguration ceremony, and I thought that by the time I got to the Mall the inaugural parage would be over as well, so I was planning on just visiting the MLK memorial. Just when I got to the Lincoln Memorial, though, my mom happened to text and call me, telling me the President was still on his way to the White House. I changed direction and set off for the White House: You can see the route of my walking that day below:

Blue traces my attempt to see the President in parade, red traces my return home.

The map reveals my problems when I arrived near the White House: The ends of the streets were blocked. Unfortunately, I had approached the parade from the wrong side, and at my closest I could only catch a glimpse of the parade vehicles. I could see some of the people that were seeing the President arrive, but I couldn't see the President.

quotes on Georgetown buildings
Nevertheless, I did enjoy my day, and I made a refreshing stop at the Trader Joe's in Foggy Bottom on my way back home to Rosslyn, getting kefir, corn puffs and other snacks. It's great to say "I was there" at the inauguration of a president, even if I didn't see much, and I will always strive to celebrate MLK Day in ways that make others think more deeply about his legacy. I have conflicting views about Barack Obama's actions so far as president, and I believe Dr. King would have too. Were he alive, however, I believe MLK would certainly have been in attendance at that inauguration celebration.

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