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O n Sunday, January 17, Al and Tipper Gore, Hillary, and I began inaugural week with a tour of Monticello, followed by a discussion of Thomas Jeffersons importance to America with young people..hermes bracelet replica.
After the event, we boarded our bus for the 120-mile trip to Washington. The bus symbolized our commitment to giving the federal government back to the people. Besides, we cherished the fond memories it held, and we wanted one last ride. We stopped for a brief church service in the pretty Shenandoah Valley town of Culpeper, then made our way to Washington. Just as in the campaign, there were well-wishers, and a few critics, along the way..bvlgari rings replica.
By the time we got to the capital, the public events of our inaugural, entitled An American Reunion: New Beginnings, Renewed Hope, were already under way. Harry Thomason, Rahm Emanuel, and Mel French, a friend from Arkansas who would become chief of protocol in my second term, had organized an extraordinary series of events, with as many as possible free of charge or within the price range of the working people who had elected me. On Sunday and Monday, the Mall between the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument was filled by an outdoor festival featuring food, music, and crafts. That night we had a Call for Reunion concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with a star-studded lineup including Diana Ross and Bob Dylan, who thrilled the crowd of 200,000 that filled the space from the stage all the way back to the Washington Monument. Standing beneath Lincolns statue, I gave a short speech appealing for national unity, saying that Lincoln gave new life to Jeffersons dream that we are all created free and equal..cartier love bracelet replica.
After the concert, the Gores and my family led a procession of thousands of people carrying flashlights across the Potomac River on Memorial Bridge to the Lady Bird Johnson Circle just outside Arlington National Cemetery. At 6 p.m., we rang a replica of the Liberty Bell, to start Bells of Hope ringing all across America and even aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. Then there was a fireworks display followed by several receptions. By the time we got back to Blair House, the official guest residence just across the street from the White House, we were tired but exhilarated, and before falling asleep I took some time to review the latest draft of my inaugural address..hermes bracelet replica.
I still wasnt satisfied with it. Compared with my campaign speeches, it seemed stilted. I knew it had to be more dignified, but I didnt want it to drag. I did like one passage, built around the idea that our new beginning had forced the spring to come to America on this cold winter day. It was the brainchild of my friend Father Tim Healy, former president of Georgetown University. Tim had died suddenly of a heart attack while walking through Newark airport a few weeks after the election. When friends went to his apartment, they found in his typewriter the beginning of a letter to me that included suggested language for the inaugural speech. His phrase force the spring struck all of us, and I wanted to use it in his memory..christian louboutin outlet online.
Monday, January 18, was the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.s birthday. In the morning I held a reception for the diplomatic representatives of other nations in the inner quadrangle at Georgetown, addressing them from the steps of Old North Building. It was the same spot on which George Washington stood in 1797 and the great French general and Revolutionary War hero Lafayette spoke in 1824. I told the ambassadors that my foreign policy would be built on three pillarseconomic security at home, restructuring the armed forces to meet the new challenges of the postCold War world, and support for democratic values across the globe. The day before, President Bush had ordered an air strike on a suspected weapons-production site in Iraq, and on this day, U.S. planes hit Saddam Husseins air-defense positions. I supported the effort to bring Saddam into full compliance with UN resolutions and asked the diplomats to emphasize that to their governments. After the diplomatic event, I spoke to Georgetown students and alumni, including many of my old classmates, urging them to support my national service initiative..moncler outlet online.
From Georgetown, we drove to Howard University for a ceremony honoring Dr. King, then to a luncheon at the beautiful Folger Library for more than fifty people Al, Tipper, Hillary, and I met during the campaign who had made a strong impression on us. We called them Faces of Hope, because of their courage in the face of adversity or their innovative ways of dealing with contemporary challenges. We wanted to thank these people for inspiring us, and to remind everyone, amidst the glamour of the inaugural week, that a lot of Americans were still having a hard time..cartier love bracelet replica.
The Faces of Hope included two former members of rival gangs in Los Angeles who joined forces after the riots to give kids a better future; two of the Vietnam veterans who had sent me their medals; a school principal who had created a violence-free magnet school in Chicagos highest-crime neighborhood, with students who regularly scored above state and national learning levels; a Texas judge who had created an innovative program for troubled kids; a young Arizona boy who had made me more aware of the family pressures caused by the extra hours his father had to work; a Native American doctor from Montana who worked to improve mental-health services to her people; men who had lost their jobs to low-wage foreign competition; people struggling with costly health problems the government didnt help with; a young entrepreneur scrapping for venture capital; people who ran community centers for broken families; a policemans widow whose husband was killed by a mental patient who bought a handgun without a background check; an eighteen-year-old financial wizard who was already working on Wall Street; a woman who had started a large recycling program at her plant; and many others. Michael Morrison, the young man who drove his wheelchair down an icy New Hampshire highway to work for me, was there. So was Dimitrios Theofanis, the Greek immigrant from New York who had asked me to make his boy free..moncler outlet online.
All of the Faces of Hope had taught me something about the pain and promise of America in 1992, but none more than Louise and Clifford Ray, whose three sons were hemophiliacs who had contracted the HIV virus through transfusions of tainted blood. They also had a daughter who was not infected. Frightened people in their small Florida community pushed to have the Ray boys removed from school, fearing that their children could be infected if one of them started bleeding and the blood got on them. The Rays filed a lawsuit to keep the kids in class and settled it out of court, then decided to move to Sarasota, a larger city where the school officials welcomed them. The oldest son, Ricky, was obviously very ill and fighting to hang on to his life. After the election, I called Ricky in the hospital to encourage him and invite him to the inauguration. He was looking forward to coming, but he didnt make it; at fifteen, he lost his fight, just five weeks before I became President. I was so glad that the Rays came to the luncheon anyway. When I took office, they championed the cause of hemophiliacs with AIDS, and successfully lobbied Congress for the passage of the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund. But it took eight long years, and their grief still wasnt over. In October 2000, three months before the end of my presidency, the Rays second son, Robert, died of AIDS at twenty-two. If only anti-retroviral therapy had been available a few years earlier. Now that it is, I spend a lot of time trying to get the medicine to many of the Ricky Rays across the world. I want them to be Faces of Hope, too..cartier love bracelet replica.
On Tuesday morning, Hillary and I started the day with a visit to the graves of John and Robert Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery. Accompanied by John Kennedy Jr., Ethel Kennedy, several of her children, and Senator Ted Kennedy, I knelt at the eternal flame and said a short prayer, thanking God for their lives and service and asking for wisdom and strength in the great adventures just ahead. At noon, I hosted a lunch for my fellow governors at the Library of Congress, thanking them for all I had learned from them in the past twelve years. After an afternoon event at the Kennedy Center highlighting Americas children, we drove out to the Capitol Centre in Landover, Maryland, for the Gala Concert, where Barbra Streisand, Wynton Marsalis, k.d. lang, rock legends Chuck Berry and Little Richard, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Jack Nicholson, Bill Cosby, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, and other artists kept us entertained for hours. Fleetwood Mac brought the crowd to its feet with our campaign theme song, Dont Stop Thinkin About Tomorrow..christian louboutin replica.
After the concert, there was a late-night prayer service at the First Baptist Church, and it was after midnight when I got back to Blair House. Though it was getting better, I still wasnt satisfied with the inaugural address. My speechwriters, Michael Waldman and David Kusnet, must have been tearing their hair out, because as we practiced between one and four in the morning on inauguration day, I was still changing it. Bruce Lindsey, Paul Begala, Bruce Reed, George Stephanopoulos, Michael Sheehan, and my wordsmith friends Tommy Caplan and Taylor Branch stayed up with me. So did Al Gore. The terrific staff at Blair House was used to taking care of foreign heads of state who kept all kinds of hours, so they were ready with gallons of coffee to keep us awake and snacks to keep us in a reasonably good humor. By the time I went to bed for a couple of hours sleep, I was feeling better about the speech..hermes bracelet replica.
Wednesday morning dawned cold and clear. I began the day with an early-morning security briefing, then I received instructions on how my military aide would handle the launching of our nuclear weapons. The President has five military aides, one outstanding young officer from each service branch; one of them is near him at all times..Sexy prom Dresses.
Though a nuclear exchange seemed unthinkable with the Cold War over, assuming the control of our arsenal was a sober reminder of the responsibilities just a few hours away. Theres a difference between knowing about the presidency and actually being President. Its hard to describe in words, but I left Blair House with my eagerness tempered by humility..http://www.vereo.eu/.
The last activity before the inauguration was a prayer service at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. It was important to me. With input from Hillary and Al Gore, I had picked the participating clergy, the singers, and the music. Hillarys family and mine were there. Mother was beaming. Roger was grinning, and enjoying the music. Both our pastors from home participated in the service, as did Al and Tippers ministers, and George Stephanopouloss father, the Greek Orthodox dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York. Father Otto Hentz, who, almost thirty years earlier, had asked me to consider becoming a Jesuit, said a prayer. Rabbi Gene Levy from Little Rock and Imam Wallace D. Mohammad spoke. Several black clergymen who were friends of mine participated, with Dr. Gardner Taylor, one of Americas greatest preachers of any race or denomination, giving the principal address. My Pentecostal friends from Arkansas and Louisiana sang, along with Phil Driscoll, a fabulous singer and trumpeter Al knew from Tennessee, and Carolyn Staley sang Be Not Afraid, one of my favorite hymns and a good lesson for the day. Tears welled up in my eyes several times during the service, and I left it uplifted and ready for the hours ahead..christian louboutin replica.
We went back to Blair House to look at the speech for the last time. It had gotten a lot better since 4 a.m. At ten, Hillary, Chelsea, and I walked across the street to the White House, where we were met on the front steps by President and Mrs. Bush, who took us inside for coffee with the Gores and the Quayles. Ron and Alma Brown were also there. I wanted Ron to share a moment he had done so much to make possible. I was struck by how well President and Mrs. Bush dealt with a painful situation and a sad partingit was obvious that they had become close to several members of the staff and would miss and be missed by them. At about 10:45, we all got into limousines. Following tradition, President Bush and I rode together, with Speaker Foley and Wendell Ford, the gravelly-voiced senator from Kentucky who was co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and who had worked hard for the narrow victory that Al and I had won in his state.
Fortunately, the ongoing Capitol restoration project had required the last three inaugurations to be held on the buildings west front. Before that, they had taken place on the other side, facing the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. Most of the people who came could not have seen the ceremonies from that viewpoint. The crowd, which filled the large grounds of the Capitol and spilled back over onto the Mall and up Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues, was estimated by the National Park Service to be between 280,000 and 300,000 people. Whatever the number, the throng was big, and full of all kinds of people, old and young, of all races and faiths, from all walks of life. I was happy that so many people who had made this day possible were there to share in it.
Many of the FOBs who came illustrated the extent to which I was indebted to my personal friends: Marsha Scott and Martha Whetstone, who organized my campaigns in northern California, were old friends from Arkansas; Sheila Bronfman, leader of the Arkansas Travelers, had lived around the corner from Hillary and me when I was attorney general; Dave Matter, my leader in western Pennsylvania, had succeeded me as class president at Georgetown; Bob Raymar and Tom Schneider, two of my most important fund-raisers, were friends from law school and Renaissance Weekend. There were so many people like them who had made this day possible.
The ceremony started at 11:30. All the principals walked out onto the platform according to protocol order with their congressional escorts. President Bush went just before me, with the Marine Band, under Colonel John Bourgeois, playing Hail to the Chief for both of us. I gazed out onto the vast crowd.
Then Al Gore took the oath of office, administered by Supreme Court Justice Byron White. The oath was originally going to be administered by retired Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, a great civil rights lawyer whom President Johnson had made the first black on the high court, but he had fallen ill. It would have been unusual for a retired justice to do the honors, but Marshalls son, Thurgood Jr., was on Gores staff. Another son, John, was a Virginia state trooper who had led our inaugural motorcade from Monticello to Washington. Marshall died four days after the inauguration. He was mourned, missed, and deeply appreciated by the legions of Americans who remembered what America was like before he set out to change it.
After the oath, the great mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, whom I had first met when she performed in Little Rock a few years earlier, sang a medley of classic American songs. Then it was my turn. Hillary stood to my left, holding our family Bible. With Chelsea on my right, I put my left hand on the Bible, raised my right hand, and repeated the oath of office after Chief Justice Rehnquist, solemnly swearing to faithfully execute the office of the President, and to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.
I shook hands with the chief justice and President Bush, then hugged Hillary and Chelsea and told them I loved them. Then Senator Wendell Ford called me to the podium as the President of the United States. I began by placing the present moment in the stream of American history:
Today we celebrate the mystery of American renewal. This ceremony is held in the depth of winter. But, by the words we speak and the faces we show the world, we force the spring. A spring reborn in the worlds oldest democracy, that brings forth the vision and courage to reinvent America. When our founders boldly declared Americas independence to the world and our purposes to the Almighty, they knew that America, to endure, would have to change. . . . Each generation of Americans must define what it means to be an American.
After a salute to President Bush, I described the current situation:
Today, a generation raised in the shadows of the Cold War assumes new responsibilities in a world warmed by the sunshine of freedom but threatened still by ancient hatreds and new plagues. Raised in unrivaled prosperity, we inherit an economy that is still the worlds strongest, but is weakened. . . . Profound and powerful forces are shaking and remaking our world, and the urgent question of our time is whether we can make change our friend and not our enemy. . . . There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.
Still, I warned, It will not be easy; it will require sacrifice. . . . We must provide for our nation the way a family provides for its children. I asked my fellow citizens to think of posterity, the world to comethe world for whom we hold our ideals, from whom we have borrowed our planet, and to whom we bear sacred responsibility. We must do what America does best: offer more opportunity to all and demand responsibility from all.
I said that, in our time,
there is no longer a clear division between what is foreign and what is domestic. The world economy, the world environment, the world AIDS crisis, the world arms racethey affect us all. . . . America must continue to lead the world we did so much to make.
I closed the speech with a challenge to the American people, telling them that, by their votes, they had forced the spring, but that government alone could not create the nation they wanted: You, too, must play your part in our renewal. I challenge a new generation of young Americans to a season of service. . . . There is so much to be done. . . . From this joyful mountaintop of celebration, we hear a call to service in the valley. We have heard the trumpets. We have changed the guard. And now, each in our way, and with Gods help, we must answer the call.
Although several commentators panned the speech, saying it was devoid of both ringing phrases and compelling specifics, I felt good about it. It had flashes of eloquence, it was clear, it said we were going to reduce the deficit while increasing critical investments in our future, and it challenged the American people to do more to help those in need and to heal our divisions. And it was short, the third-shortest inaugural address in history, after Lincolns second inaugural, the greatest of them all, and Washingtons second speech, which lasted less than two minutes. Essentially, Washington just said, Thanks, Im going back to work, and if I dont do a good job, reprimand me. By contrast, William Henry Harrison gave the longest address in history, in 1841, speaking without a coat on a cold day for well over an hour and catching a bad case of pneumonia, which cost him his life thirty-three days later. At least I was mercifully and uncharacteristically brief, and the people knew how I saw the world and what I intended to do.
By far the most beautiful words of the day were spoken by Maya Angelou, a tall woman with a deep strong voice whom I had asked to write a poem for the occasion, the first poet to do so since Robert Frost spoke at President Kennedys inauguration in 1961. I had followed Mayas career since Id read her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which recounts her early years as a traumatized mute girl in a poor black community in Stamps, Arkansas.
Mayas poem, On the Pulse of Morning, riveted the crowd. Built on powerful images of a rock to stand on, a river to rest by, and a tree with roots in all the cultures and kinds that make up the American mosaic, the poem issued a passionate plea in the form of a neighborly invitation:
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
. . . . . . . .
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sisters eyes, and into
Your brothers face, your country
And say simply
Billy Graham ended our good morning with a brief benediction, and Hillary and I left the stage to accompany the Bushes down the back steps of the Capitol, where the presidential helicopter, Marine One, was waiting to take them on the first leg of their journey home. We went back inside for lunch with the Congressional Committee, then drove up Pennsylvania Avenue toward the viewing stand in front of the White House for the inaugural parade. With Chelsea, we got out of the car and walked the last few blocks of the route so that we could wave to the crowds packed several deep along the way.
After the parade, we went into our new home for the first time, with only about two hours to greet the staff, rest, and get ready for the evening. Miraculously, the movers had gotten all our belongings in during the inaugural ceremonies and the parade.
At seven, we started our evening marathon with a dinner, followed by visits to all eleven inaugural balls. My brother sang for me at the MTV Youth Ball, and at another I played a tenor saxophone duet on Night Train with Clarence Clemons. However, at most of the balls Hillary and I would first say a few words of thanks, then dance to a few bars of one of our favorite songs, It Had to Be You, showing off her beautiful purple gown. Meanwhile, Chelsea was off with friends from Arkansas at the Youth Ball, and Al and Tipper kept their own schedule. At the Tennessee ball, Paul Simon regaled them with his hit You Can Call Me Al. At the Arkansas Ball, I introduced Mother to Barbra Streisand and told them both I thought theyd get along. They did more than that. They became fast friends, and Barbra called my mother every week until she died. I still have a picture of them walking hand in hand on that inaugural evening.
When we got back to the White House, it was after 2 a.m. We had to be up the next morning for a public reception, but I was too excited to go right to bed. We had a full house: Hillarys parents, Mother and Dick, our siblings, Chelseas friends from home, and our friends Jim and Diane Blair and Harry and Linda Thomason. Only our parents had retired.
I wanted to look around. We had been in the second-floor living quarters before, but this was different. It was beginning to sink in that we actually lived there and would have to make it a home. Most of the rooms had high ceilings and beautiful but comfortable furniture. The presidential bedroom and living room face the south, with a small room off the bedroom that would become Hillarys sitting room. Chelsea had a bedroom and study across the hall, just beyond the formal dining room and the small kitchen. At the other end of the hall were the main guest bedrooms, one of which had been Lincolns office and has one of his handwritten copies of the Gettysburg Address.
Next to the Lincoln Bedroom is the Treaty Room, so named because the treaty ending the Spanish-American War was signed there in 1898. For several years it had been the private office of the President, usually configured with multiple televisions so the Chief Executive could watch all the news programs at once. I believe President Bush had four TVs there. I decided I wanted it to be a quiet place where I could read, reflect, listen to music, and hold small meetings. The White House carpenters made me floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and the staff brought up the table on which the Spanish-American War treaty had been signed. In 1869, it had been Ulysses Grants cabinet table, with space for the President and his seven department heads to sit around it. Since 1898 it had been used for the signing of all treaties, including the temporary nuclear test ban under President Kennedy and the Camp David Accords under President Carter. Before the year was out, I would be using it too.
I filled out the room with a late-eighteenth-century Chippendale sofa, the oldest piece of furniture in the White House collection, and an antique table bought by Mary Todd Lincoln, on which we put the silver commemorative cup from the 1898 treaty. When I got my books and CDs in, and hung some of my old pictures, including an 1860 photo of Abraham Lincoln and Yousuf Karshs famous photograph of Churchill, the place had a comfortable, peaceful atmosphere in which I would spend countless hours in the years ahead.
On my first day as President, I started out by taking Mother down to the Rose Garden, to show her exactly where I had stood when I shook hands with President Kennedy almost thirty years ago. Then, in a departure from traditional practice, we opened the White House to the public, providing tickets to two thousand people who had been selected in a postcard lottery. Al, Tipper, Hillary, and I stood in line shaking hands with the ticket holders, then with others who waited in the cold rain for their time to walk through the lower south entrance into the Diplomatic Reception Room to say hello. One determined young man without a ticket had hitchhiked overnight to the White House with his sleeping bag. After six hours, we had to stop, so I went outside to speak to the rest of the crowd gathered on the South Lawn. That night, Hillary and I stood in line for another few hours, to greet our friends from Arkansas and classmates from Georgetown, Wellesley, and Yale.
A few months after the inauguration, a book was published filled with beautiful photographs that capture the excitement and meaning of the inaugural week, with an explanatory text written by Rebecca Buffum Taylor. In her epilogue to the book, Taylor writes:
A shift in political values takes time. Even if successful, its clarity must wait until months or years have passed, until the lens has been extended and recedes again, until far and middle distance merge with what can be seen today.
The words were penetrating, and probably correct. But I couldnt wait years, months, or even days to see if the campaign and the inauguration had effected a shift in values, deepening the roots and broadening the reach of the American community. I had too much to do, and once again the work quickly turned from poetry to prose, not all of it pretty.