1/20/09

It’s safe to say that Frank Rich speaks for many Americans — and certainly for me — when he wrote in his column earlier this week that “Barack Obama’s day is one that I never thought would come, and one that I still can’t quite believe is here.”

Rich was referring to the historic nature of Obama’s presidency, not to the relief of seeing the Bush years finally come to an end, but the comment works in both contexts.That’s why, for my money, the most powerful moment in the inauguration ceremony — even more powerful than Obama taking the oath of office — was when Pres. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walked former Pres. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush to the helicopter waiting to take them to Andrews Air Force Base and from there, back to Texas. Seeing the two of them get on that helicopter after the goodbye hugs, and watching as the rotor started spinning and the chopper lifted into the air, circled over the scene below for a few minutes, and then disappeared into the horizon, was so cathartic.

That’s when I knew — or perhaps more accurately, felt, down to my bones — that it was really, really over.

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