Local Commentary

Editorial: Inauguration Day

Not more than seven miles, as the crow flies, from the site of the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama that will take place next Tuesday, the City of Falls Church, as with the entire region, is preparing to be rocked by one of the biggest and happiest parties the nation has seen in many a year, if ever before.

As reported in this edition of the News-Press, local and regional officials have been briefed and activated to help the massive people-crunch that is expected. Traffic on major arteries, including Interstate 66 and the Beltway, could back up for miles through most of the day Tuesday, forcing spillover traffic onto local streets and making it difficult for any “business as usual” to occur anywhere near to, or inside, the Beltway.

The best we can recommend to our readers is to be prepared, to figure out more than one way to get to where they need to go that day, whether its downtown to watch the Inauguration, to find a public place to watch it on TV or just to go about business as normally as possible, much less to go to or come from one of the Inaugural Balls that night. We urge everyone to keep in mind what an historic event the Inauguration will be, and to let the joy of the occasion trump any frustration that may be felt by being inconvenienced in some fashion.

Many Falls Church residents will be playing major roles in the festivities, as the majority of City and regional residents are part of the federal government in Washington, many working in very important places. The City residents can celebrate with pride the fact they provided the highest voter turnout, by percentage, in helping to turn Virginia for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1964, and residents of the neighboring jurisdictions, as well, can be proud that they, all combined, provided the entire vote total margin of victory for President-elect Obama in the state. Tuesday’s Inaugural will be a celebration that all Americans will share in, but especially those who made an effort to make a difference in the November election.

For many here and coming from all over the nation to be here, getting an unobstructed view of the actual swearing in is an absolute priority, and who can deny the special significance of witnessing such history in the making? They will endure the long hours, the crowds, the waiting, the cold, the security restrictions, the limited transportation options and the too few relief stations just to catch a glimpse of the actual event.

But for everyone in this region, whether braving those conditions or not, there will be a special electricity pervading the entire area that will provide an unforgettable experience of the day. It will be a time when we’ll all feel a genuine thanks for the blessing of being so close to our nation’s capital, to such a magnificent, living shrine to all humanity’s best hopes and aspirations. That which we may too often take for granted will become sensuously real for everyone on Tuesday.