Wednesday, January 21, 2009

History is History Even Across the Ocean

As the afternoon turned to evening and England focused its eyes on the television, America was posed to mark another milestone in history.  Of course, I couldn't watch the ceremonies on American channels, so I tuned into the BBC with other members of the Harlaxton community ready to witness this event.  Our principal, Dr. Kingsley, had invited all to the Bistro (the eatery/bar area in the basement) for a big screen viewing.  It was so fascinating to listen to the commentators excitement for the inauguration.  BBC broadcasters couldn't stop talking about the crowds and how monumental this day would be.  Echos of John F. Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were murmured as people compared this day with other outstanding inaugurations.  

Honestly, I wasn't even sure if the BBC would carry the event.  I thought it was possible, but it wasn't until I sat watching the energy of the British newscasters that I understood yesterday's global impact.  The broadcasters said there were people in attendance from all over the world.  This surprised me.  I may be a bit politically apathetic, but I always classified myself as competent enough in regard to politics.  I had little understanding of the way that the rest of the world watches the United States.  

I have been skimming the British newspapers that come to the manor everyday.  President Obama has been front page news for days.  One even used his good health and exercise regimen as a lead into a story about New Year's exercise plans!  Again, this surprises me.  

Last night I went to a briefing for Meet-a-Family program.  I am assigned a British family with whom I will eat dinner, visit their home, and share a bit about my life as an American with them.  The retired local man that came and spoke to us about the program began by saying that he remembers four major events in history.  I can't remember two of them (sorry!), but the last two were the fall of the Berlin Wall and the inauguration of Barack Obama.  He gave such importance to this event and it wasn't even his country.  He congratulated us all and was thrilled to visit Americans on such an important day.  

As I learn more about the United Kingdom, my home for four months, I am overwhelmed by the amount I learn about my actual home, the United States. 

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