As the Parade Passes By

As the parade passes by, we forget some things worth remembering.

Barack Obama seemed the only Democrat on his inauguration Day, a year ago yesterday, with a sobering view of how difficult it was going to be to work as a nation on our problems.

Remember the criticism of his inaugural address and his reference to George Washington at Valley Forge as being “too sobering” ?  He wondered aloud not whether we had a government too big or too small, but simply, do we have one that works?

I have a print of the famous painting of George Washington on his horse in the deadly snows of Valley Forge surrounded by his starving troops in my hallway.   I can attest to its solar plexus effect, but also its inspiration.

It’s not a moment in our history a presidential speechwriter might suggest to conjure up in the inaugural address so I feel confident it is the image President himself inserted in to his speech.  He understood the complexities of the challenges in front of him.

Some said he missed that inaugural occasion with this speech and yet, no surprise, I think he got the moment and his our times exactly right.

As I stand at attention and pay my respects to this one year anniversary I chronicled at the time with a 14-post series called, “Driving to the Inaugural” , I offer you a link to the speech and encourage you to read it through.

It is a seed sound from yesterday that I heard while crumpled flat on the forest floor and, quite poetically, a soft snow began to fall as I decided to pick myself up and get on with it.

©Pat Coakley


**Select photographs from this blog and my wider archive can be purchased at

4 comments on “As the Parade Passes By”

  1. wow just wow and now the day is brighter! beautiful photo, the portrait has such peace pride and power.

  2. Kathi, I took this Kodachrome slide over 35 years ago! I just found it again as I’ve been going through all my father’s slides. I suspect she is about 45-47 years old now, although I’m bad at guessing ages, but I’m thinking she’s around 10-12?

  3. wow, it is so fresh but the times in was taken in gives it another dimension. a promise, a prayer

  4. Thanks, Pat. This is so beautiful (your post and your photo). The last couple of weeks have been trying, to say the least. Your words are a nice light in the midst of all that.

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