We begin the Christmas season with a flurry of marketing rhetoric that entices the average American into the stores or online to begin an odyssey of buying.  Gifts and decorations begin to build up in closets and corners of homes.  Then the Salvation Army commences the bell ringing at local stores while churches start talking about cantatas and Christmas plays.  Small children, with eyes of wonderment, scurry around the house waiting for Christmas to come.  Soon we begin to have a feeling of contentment and for a brief moment each year we have a sense of peace on earth and good will toward man.  By Christmas Eve the statement, “Why can’t it be Christmas all year long”, can be heard throughout the country.  This is not associated to the receiving of material gifts but instead is linked to the internal glow that accompanies the holiday.

I have recently retired and I am amazed at how much one misses during the normal course of a day while at the office.  In the evening we watch the news and get a capsulated presentation of what has recently happened.  During the day, via the internet, we may pick up bits and pieces of what is going on in our world.  For me it was even more enlightening to witness a full day of newscast as I had spent sixteen years living in a foreign country with limited access to world news.  Every once in a while I witness something that is very iconic; something that gives reason to pause, be thankful for where I live and question why can’t the country live in this type of harmony.

Last week I observed the inauguration of a president of the United States.  The last time I witnessed this in full was in Mrs. Armstrong’s fourth grade class when she brought her small black and white TV to school.  Frank Sinatra had talked various Broadway productions into suspending shows to allow key performers to perform at the gala pre-inauguration ball.  Unlike some performers of today, the Broadway actors were honored to be participating in such an auspicious event.  The day was blustery and cold as eighty-four year old Robert Frost took the podium to read a poem requested by the new president, John Kennedy.  This was well over half a century ago but the pomp and circumstance is still with us.

The inauguration of Donald Trump was well covered on television.  It is basically the same celebration that has been with us for hundreds of years.  The excitement of a new beginning accompanied by the grandeur and the pageantry of the  event was magical.  Members of congress that had been at odds for years walked in to commemorate the occasion.  Bands played and beautiful iconic choirs could be heard across the Capital.  The new president and his family filed onto the capital podium accompanied by the newly elected Vice President and his family.  When newly elected Donald Trump walked across the podium and shook hands with prior presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush and Obama and with candidate Hillary Clinton a sense of peace, a sense of optimism for our country could be felt.  For a brief moment in time, America was at its’ best and a feeling that anything is possible.  It was not just a sensation that accompanied this presidential election but is something that accompanies every inauguration; it is so idyllic American.  Today is the first day of the rest of our lives and what a fitting ending to the swearing in ceremony than having Jackie Evancho close with the singing of the Star Spangled Banner; a fitting reassurance for the future of our country.

Unfortunately this feeling will not last very long.  Human nature will intercede and political infighting will develop.  Ideology will take the place of collaboration.   Scarce resources will fight for supremacy.  Self-serving egos will take the place of teamwork.  For now I am not going to be the Scrooge that stole the Inauguration nor am I going to be the pessimist.  Instead I am hoping that a higher being will provide the guidance to our nation’s leaders to bring the good of the country into perspective, to provide an epiphany to public servants across the country that this country will not only survive but thrive only when the country is put first and only when strong team work in utilized.

For one  brief minute everything was good.

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