What a difference a generation makes! Back in the day, in 1973 when I was a Trinity junior, my friends and I had a blast at Nixon’s second inauguration — at the demonstrations, that is. It was the middle of the Vietnam War; we had not yet heard of Watergate, Iran-Contra, Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden. Three decades would come and go before we suffered the tragedy of 9/11 and plunged into the terrible new world of massive security at every public event.
On that cold day 35 years ago, I had my first close encounters with the National Guard as the troops swung into action to contain the protesters trying to chase Nixon’s parade. Security wasn’t quite so sophisticated back then, so we kids actually were able to dance in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue before we were hustled back onto the sidewalk.
Fast forward to the plaza in front of the Trinity Center this afternoon as several hundred National Guard troops organized in preparation for their duties tomorrow at the presidential inauguration. Times have changed! We welcomed nearly 300 National Guard troops from New York to the Trinity Center where they are residing during their several days in Washington. Many of these young women and men are already veterans, having had tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are just as excited as we are about the inauguration, and they are happy to be part of this historic moment.
I’m proud that Trinity is able to host the National Guard today. And, I’m feeling older by the minute as I realize that none of them know what I’m talking about when I mutter, “Nixon’s Second Inaugural.” I might as well be talking about Grover Cleveland!
Thanks to all of our National Guard troops and military personnel for all that you do to serve our nation!
Trinity’s campus this week is hosting other visitors for the historic inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, and the first African American president. As I was photographing the troops in front of the Trinity Center this afternoon, along came a group of high school girls from the Andover Academy in Massachusetts.
These young women came to Washington in the company of their mentor, Trinity Alumna Mary Beth Nason ’65 (she’s in the pink, above) who is on the board of the Andover Academy. Naturally, when the young ladies saw all those soldiers, they wanted to capture the moment for history. The troops happily obliged, and so now the world can see Andover women meeting New York’s finest — on Trinity’s campus, courtesy of our alumnae “old girls’ network.” (Mary Beth reminisced about the 1961 inauguration of President Kennedy!) Welcome, Andover!
Earlier today, we were also delighted to welcome a splendid group of women from Spelman College in Atlanta (below). These students and their faculty/staff colleagues will stay at Trinity for the next two days while participating in the inauguration, and they will join Trinity students for Trinity’s own inaugural ball on Tuesday evening. Welcome, Spelman!
Speaking of inaugural balls…. last Saturday night the Trinity Center was the site of the HOPE Youth Inaugural Ball, an event designed for young people and families. The sponsors transformed the gymnasium into a very classy ballroom, complete with a miniature White House (see below). You can see a Fox5 news report on this ball if you click here. Play the clip to the middle to see the footage of the Trinity ball.
Yes, if you’re thinking that we’ve had many different kinds of events and setups at the Trinity Center in the last week — you’re right! Since the luncheon for community organizers last Thursday, the Trinity Center has also been the site for a Trinity Tigers basketball game (victory!), the HOPE inaugural ball, a soccer clinic, a youth basketball tournament, and then the National Guard overnights. Becky Vuksta leads the remarkable Trinity Center team, ably assisted by Jamie Burket and Tamika Hilliard. Facilities and Food Service colleagues have also contributed a great deal of support — thanks to the entire team for great work!
More to come… if you are going to any inaugural events, please take pix and send them along with your reflections on the day, and I’ll publish them on this blog, or we’ll put them onto Trinity’s inaugural website. Enjoy the moment!