The shuttle flight into the nation’s capital yesterday glided on approach over the Lincoln Memorial and the national mall, where I could see the more than 400-thousand people who had come to hear the big We Are One concert. The President-elect and family, along with the Bidens, sat on the stage as various artists (and one bald eagle) sang and performed.
When I climbed into the taxi at Reagan National, Bono’s voice on the radio belted out one of my favorite U2 songs: “In the Name of Love,” written in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As the taxi made its way toward my hotel — not so easy with all the barricaded streets — I heard the final minutes of the concert, and tears came to my eyes when Pete Seeger and his grandson sang the Woody Guthrie standard, This Land is Your Land. And I have a new favorite lyric from that tune:
As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there And that sign said - private property. But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin! Now that side was made for you and me!
Though I’ll have my share of crowds as I cover the inauguration over the next two days, I kind of wished I was in that crowd yesterday, singing with Pete and those thousands of people.
We drove across the Mall on 7th Street and I could see Beyonce on the jumbotrons as she sang America the Beautiful (which I’ve long wished were our national anthem).
My hotel is a former post-office building, built in the 1830s, with columns and courtyards and 14-foot ceilings. In my room, there’s a bust of Jefferson atop the armoire. It gives an even greater sense of history to what will certainly be one of the biggest gatherings in our nation’s brief journey (if not, the biggest ever).