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The Inauguration

Monday, January 21, 2013

Specimen Days [The Inauguration]
by Walt Whitman

March 4th.--The President very quietly rode down to the Capitol in his own carriage, by himself, on a sharp trot, about noon, either because he wish'd to be on hand to sign bills, or to get rid of marching in line with the absurd procession, the muslin temple of liberty and pasteboard monitor. I saw him on his return, at three o'clock, after the performance was over. He was in his plain two-horse barouche, and look'd very much worn and tired; the lines, indeed, of vast responsibilities, intricate questions, and demands of life and death, cut deeper than ever upon his dark brown face; yet all the old goodness, tenderness, sadness, and canny shrewdness, underneath the furrows. (I never see that man without feeling that he is one to become personally attach'd to, for his combination of purest, heartiest tenderness, and native Western form of manliness.) By his side sat his little boy, of ten years. There were no soldiers, only a lot of civilians on horseback, with huge yellow scarfs over their shoulders, riding around the carriage. (At the inauguration four years ago, he rode down and back again surrounded by a dense mass of arm'd cavalrymen eight deep, with drawn sabres; and there were sharpshooters station'd at every corner on the route.) I ought to make mention of the closing levee of Saturday night last. Never before was such a compact jam in front of the White House--all the grounds fill'd, and away out to the spacious sidewalks. I was there, as I took a notion to go--was in the rush inside with the crowd--surged along the passage-ways, the blue and other rooms, and through the great east room. Crowds of country people, some very funny. Fine music from the Marine Band, off in a side place. I saw Mr. Lincoln, drest all in black, with white kid gloves and a claw-hammer coat, receiving, as in duty bound, shaking hands, looking very disconsolate, and as if he would give anything to be somewhere else.


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
JEN9ERV 1/22/2013 7:46PM

    Thank you!

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SARAWALKS 1/22/2013 6:34PM

    emoticon emoticon

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PATRICIA4472 1/22/2013 8:15AM

    I just saw the movie Lincoln last week, which provided me an important historical backdrop for yesterday's inauguration. I also read Lincoln's second inaugural speech, and thus picked up one of Lincoln's phrases in Obama's own second inaugural message.

The "moment" yesterday for me was when the President had left the platform but turned back to look at the crowd in the Mall. I felt he looked at all of us, and took us in, to keep us in the forefront of his mind and heart in the four years ahead.

We, the people.

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_UMAMI_ 1/22/2013 1:42AM

    I only listened to the broadcast as I woke, then worked, today.

But I felt it very inspiring, and, in an uncharacteristic way, I felt patriotic and motivated to give more of myself. The whole day put a little more lift in my step.

Thank your for likewise enlivening post.

I have more to add, but I'm literally falling asleep at the keyboard!

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CARRAND 1/21/2013 8:59PM

    I'm watching Michelle Obama and the president dance. I love her dress! I love them both.

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NORWOODGIRL 1/21/2013 8:30PM


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-LINDA_S 1/21/2013 5:28PM

    Thank you! I hope he's allowed to accomplish important things.

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MLH148 1/21/2013 5:22PM

Last time three 2 term presidents in a row? Jefferson,Madison, Monroe. Wow!

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MONETRUBY 1/21/2013 4:29PM

    What an excellent piece. Thank you.

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MAMACHAMBS 1/21/2013 1:20PM

    You are a brilliant writer!

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POPSY190 1/21/2013 1:13PM

    I always enjoy writings and illustrations that remind us of the connections between past and present. Thank you.

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2LABS2LOVE 1/21/2013 12:59PM

    Two of my most favorite historic men

Wishing the president four wonderful years

Comment edited on: 1/21/2013 12:59:43 PM

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KASEYCOFF 1/21/2013 12:21PM

    Great selection...

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LINWASH23 1/21/2013 12:11PM

    We are praying that all goes well and that our President, Vice President and their families will be safe. It is the world we live in. emoticon

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AJB121299 1/21/2013 12:05PM


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MORTICIAADDAMS 1/21/2013 12:00PM

    Fascinating! The rigors of the job are indeed sobering.

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