Thursday, January 22, 2009

As Promised - Guest Editor!

My cousin Doug and his lovely wife, Melanie, of Anderson, IN. They attended Reagan's first in 1980 and this is what Doug wrote me about it.

"Everyone should have a chance to attend a Presidential inauguration, if for no other reason than to experience the incredible sense of expectation that accompanies the occasion and then to later reflect upon the impact on history of that president she/he watched repeat the oath of office.

The thing I remember most was when Reagan walked to the microphone to deliver his inaugural address. One of the first things he uttered was that the American hostages being held in Iran had just been released and were boarding a plane en route to an American base in Germany. The sustained cheer that erupted from that gigantic crowd was incredible -- everyone had a tear in their eyes.

The photo ( above) was taken less than 15 minutes following the conclusion of the inauguration, after which we "adjourned" from the Capitol lawn to the Senate Office Building where we attended a reception for Indiana's delegation hosted by our two Indiana Senators of that era Dan Quayle (a future Veep) and Richard Lugar (an old political friend of many years.)

There were eight balls on the evening of the inauguration and every State seemingly had its own special "dinner dance." The Indiana Society of Washington, DC, sponsored one that included a seven-course dinner with dancing between each course! There was entertainment between the dances. It was extremely "rich" in its appeal.

The inaugural ball that we attended was held in the Pension Building (a beautiful place) with the Glenn Miller orchestra providing the music and our hosts for the evening were Robert Conrad and Donnie and Marie Osmond. We were invited to enjoy seating and champagne with the Joseph Coors family. It was high-brow, but we had fun anyway. Melanie made her own ball gown and received many compliments on her "choice of designer."

To be honest, I don't remember much about the preceding two days because we spent most of that time roaming around DC, taking in the sights (and a few libations.) The Smithsonian was very interesting and I was intrigued by the manner in which they had suspended Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" from the cross-irons of the ceiling.

I was truly awed by the reverence and precision of the military's joint services' silent drill team's performance when we watched the ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery.

You might recall that Carter declined to illuminate or dismantle the national Christmas tree as long as the Americans were held as hostages in Iran and the day we left was a dark, gloomy day so we drove by the site and saw that it WAS illuminated! It doesn't seem too moving of an experience today, but it certainly brought forth great pride among us in 1981."

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