Witness To A National Farewell

Time, it is said, waits for no one. The older I’ve grown, oh how I’ve seen it march its way through history and banality alike. As I put together this particular post, I realized the full effect of that yet again. Hard to imagine, but next month will have been 8 years already since we stood shoulder to shoulder with our American “cousins” in the muggy heat to bear witness to history.

Former President Ronald Reagan had died in California the day we arrived in Washington, DC, and all week the city was abuzz in preparation for his arrival to the US Capitol and his final march down Constitution Avenue. Growing up with the images of President Kennedy’s funeral having become almost iconographic, the experience of watching all of this unfold before us was remarkable. Say what you will about the oft over-the-top US nationalism, this was a respectful, dignified farewell to a man who held the highest office, a former President.

Following relatively so closely after the horror of 9/11, it was a new feature of the grand stage event such as this to also note the heightened security everywhere, from street level to rooftops, from the seen to the unseen. Nonetheless, these two Canadians felt safe and privileged to watch history turn yet another page right before our eyes.

 

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