Have you been thinking about the amazing Inauguration Day we just had? We really did ourselves proud yesterday, despite everything our nation is contending with -- the pandemic, the economic crisis, and of course the Capitol riot and the disturbing discoveries coming to light in its aftermath.
To be honest, I didn't expect to be riveted by the ceremony and celebrations. I knew everything would look different this year, with everyone wearing masks and social distancing, no parades or parties or balls, and lots of videos and virtual components. Plus, aren't we pretty weary of watching everything in life happen on a flat screen?
So imagine my surprise when I found myself utterly glued to my screen, giddy with excitement, laughing and clapping and dancing and shedding more than a few tears. I was making a (private) spectacle of myself. What's this about? I wondered. Maybe it's all of the historic firsts we are witnessing. Or maybe it's the inspiring and gifted people who are participating, from presidents to world-famous artists and celebrities. (Bon Jovi singing "Here Comes the Sun" as dawn breaks over the ocean? Pretty cool.)
But it wasn't really all the history and star power that held me in thrall. It was us. My favorite moments were about we, the people, showing up to prove that love really does win. Like the parents lovingly hushing babies who didn't know their president was being sworn in. The UPS driver and those grateful people on his route who cheer him on. The Marines serving in Japan. The dancing "Tik Tok Doc," who energized fellow frontline workers and inspired thousands of us to post goofy dance videos on YouTube. Countless hometown heroes, including little kids who are helping friends and strangers in need. Our creative, courageous teachers. Our dedicated health, food, transportation, utility workers. All those unemployed Broadway performers, singing to let the sun shine in. The first girl to play college football. People from cities and towns and cornfields and football fields and docks and reservations just singing and dancing, the way we do. A smiling girl exhorting us: "Let's get united, America!"
In the finale, Katy Perry belted her anthem "Firework" as fireworks exploded behind the Washington Monument (above) -- a powerful and memorable performance, to be sure. But it was that unsung, everyday hero over in that little box on the side of the screen that stole the show for me. Look at her beautifully and joyously "singing" with her hands: "There's a spark in you. You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine."
We don't have to be famous or powerful to make our world a little better. We just need to find our spark, ignite the light, and let it shine. In the days ahead, let's discover that spark in ourselves and each other. Remember we are still together, even when we're apart. And the best news is that all of us are loved, all the time.
-- MZ Smith, Community News editor