I watched the presentation of colors today at President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s inauguration. I listened as Lady Gaga sang an incredible version of the Star-Spangled Banner. I noted the flags from our history that dated back to our very beginnings. I looked out on the 200,000 flags flying on the National Mall and the flags flying in the breeze on virtually every building.
And while I am not by nature a flag waver, I was proud, prouder than I have ever been of the flag.
Two weeks ago, my vision was totally different. I watched as an American Flag was used to beat a policeman whose only crime was protecting our Nation’s Capital from a band of thugs whose goal was an assault on our very democracy. I watched as they claimed they were patriots, wrapped themselves in flags, waved them from the ramparts, and carried them as they ran through the capitol corridors breaking windows, spray painting walls, and threatening the lives of Republican Vice President Mike Pence and the Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
That vision has now been wiped out of my mind.
May we now move forward to solve the very real problems this nation faces— from the raging pandemic that has killed 400,000 Americans to the racism that continues to haunt our lives, from the environmental degradation that has led to global warming to severe economic depression that has destroyed thousands of businesses and thrown hundreds of thousands of people out of work, from denying citizens the right to vote to governing with mistruths and conspiracy theories.
And finally, may we return to our role as a positive, responsible partner in addressing the problems of the broader world.
May our flag once again fly proudly.