Educational Philosophy

Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.

~ John Dewey

Our simple educational philosphy: we learn as we live and we celebrate what we learn!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

More About the Obama Inauguration 2009

Obama is our country's first president whose ethnic identity is not only linked to Europe. All 43 men who have been president of the United States up to now were either British, Irish, Dutch, or German in ancestry. Most of them had colonial ancestors. Obama is an iconic symbol of America's melting pot. And, we were lucky enough to be there to watch him get sworn in as president.

The experience of inauguration day itself was amazing. We set our alarms for 4:00 AM and walked from our hotel to the metro. There were thousands boarding the metro along side us. Some were young. Some were old. There were blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, and others. There were folks in wheelchairs and on crutches. Everyone walked briskly and orderly. Some stopped to take pictures of the glowing Capitol. We passed many many trucks and busses and policeman from Ohio, Maryland and DC. We passed National Guardsmen in full gear. We watched hundreds street vendors selling their Obama gear. And, we passed thousands of porta potties (reports were that there were 4,000 of them on the Mall)!

By 4:30 we were on the mall and had staked out a spot at the first nonticketed JumboTron. It was about 8 degrees outside. We set up our blankets in front of a family from Maryland who had spent the night in the gentleman's office in DC so that they could get a good seat on the Mall. Within minutes, people surrounded us. Parents brought children barely distinguishable under their extensive bundling; students who had stayed up all night brought CVS bags full of food, warming blankets, and hand warmers. A gentleman from Kenya wrapped himself in a Kenyan flag. There were elderly people who had been wheeled into the masses by their families and friends. Some people were in sleeping bags. Others huddled under blankets. Many wore Obama Inauguration hats purchased from street vendors. Despite the bitter cold, no one complained of exhaustion, crowds, dirty bathrooms, or biting wind. They only spoke of their excitement and optimism. We chatted with virtually everyone around us. We met people from Nigeria, Hawaii, California, Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, DC, New York, and New Jersey. We borrowed toilet paper, snapped pictures for others, chatted about the election, and shared food and blankets. About two hours before the start time, they turned on the JumboTrons and replayed the Sunday's We Are One Concert. It was just as enjoyable the second time around as it had been on Sunday when we viewed it from a spot near the top of the reflecting pool (see our We Are One Concert slide show for pictures). Everyone sang together and waved their American flags that had been distributed by the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.

After the hours of waiting, the moment President Obama began to give his speech, a hush fell over the whole crowd. It was truly awe-inspiring to witness a group of so many be completely silent and attentive. There was an overwhelming sense of unity and a feeling that Obama was everyone's leader. Everyone seemed to trust him. The woman behind us echoed his every word. The students around us clapped and cheered. Couples embraced and kissed. The great crowd of people of all ages, color, religious and political views, and nationalities believed that Barack Obama would help America fulfill its potential.

While many departed before the benediction, we waited until the last minute to leave. Then, with tens of thousands of others, we walked back to our hotel over the Memorial Bridge.

We watched the parade from our hotel room as we tried to warm our toes under the covers. Apparently, Obama was sporting a bullet proof vest and rode in an amazingly technically equipped vehicle.

It was a beautiful day.

For more about Obama's limo, also known as The Beast, go here. If you want to see our slide show from Inauguration Day go here. For other photos by ordinary people, go here.

Side Note: We recently learned that Obama had a kata in his pocket when he sworn in. Pretty cool!

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