Fletcher was well represented in D.C. for the inauguration last Tuesday. PhD candidate Margaret Sloane sent around her photo album, including this picture, which captures both the spririt and the crowds of the day:
Also in D.C. was second-year MALD student Anne Dwojewski, who describes her experience here.
President Obama and I share an address. No, I’ve never lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but I did live at 365 Broadway in Somerville, MA several years back. And so did Barack Obama-the-law-student, back in the 1990s when he was studying at HLS. It’s my prize connection to the 44th President — and he doesn’t even know about it.
Judging from the crowd, many people claimed some prize connection to the new president — feeling that this wasn’t some distant, elite head of state that we were watching be sworn in, but rather that this was someone with whom we each have something very personal in common. It felt like everyone was cheering in support of their neighbor, their best friend, their brother, themselves. And perhaps, in part, they were…
I am not sure how many Fletcherites were at the Inauguration festivities a week ago today, but I get the sense it was a lot of us. From the emails that were going around in the days before, I know many current students were planning on carpooling or caravaning, taking epic bus rides, studying on long train trips, flying to Baltimore or direct….any way to get down to be a part of history.
I flew down and stayed with a Fletcher friend who graduated this past spring and now lives in D.C. We got a late start to the day, not leaving the house until 8 a.m. (We’d heard revelers heading in the direction of the Mall as early as 3:00 a.m., and a text message from the Washington Post at 5:11 a.m. alerted me to the fact that there were already “big crowds at downtown checkpoints.”) Our tardiness meant that the closest we could get to the Capitol Building was the Washington Monument, 1.5 miles away. It didn’t matter. We had the jumbotrons on which to watch the events and the crowd to keep us both warm and energized.
The energy was what we were there for, and it didn’t disappoint.
After the ceremony, we were literally moved by the masses off of the Mall and down 18th Street. Around the K Street intersection, the crowd began to dissipate and we had to begin propelling ourselves forward on our own. And that was it! It was over. Yes, there was a parade to catch on TV, perhaps a ball or two to attend. (Not us, though–we spent the evening reminiscing about Fletcher adventures over dessert at a local cafe.) But the main event was behind us.
Or maybe the main events were ahead of us.
Two days later, Secretary of State Clinton headed to her first day at the State Department, and announced the renewed emphasis that the Obama administration intends to put on diplomacy and development. As she spoke, Fletcher students — including those who’d traveled to DC — were back in Medford, in classes and the library, working toward their goals to become scholars and leaders in those very areas…
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