I don’t know who the two young lovers captured in this moment were, but I do know what called me to quickly snap this fleeting instant of love, hope, and beauty in our nation’s capital.
It’s the same reason I kept thinking about this scene throughout yesterday’s Inauguration ceremony and celebration, how it moved me then and continues to resonate today. It’s the same reason we collectively rested a little easier last night, and woke up a bit more hopeful this morning.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, this can still be a country that lives up to its highest ideals. A country where we can have rigorous debate, with respect, in service of some greater good. There are still millions of people, like these two, that view this country as something worth believing in and fighting for. Yesterday, for the first time in nearly five years, I felt that way again, too.
I took this picture on July 3rd, 2016, nearly 240 years to the day that America declared its independence from Great Britain. It’s the last time I’ve been to Washington DC, and not by accident. It got pretty difficult to believe in these ideals, these monuments, and that flag the past four years. Yet, as President Biden said, democracy prevailed, as it always should.
There’s a line in a Bruce Springsteen song I’ve had stuck in my head on repeat since the events of January 6th. I closed out the latest episode of the podcast with it:
“You know that flag flying over the courthouse means certain things are set in stone. Who we are. What we’ll do. And what we won’t.”
At our best, as Americans, this is our guiding scripture. We know who we are. We’ve seen who we aren’t. Now, it’s up to us to decide what we’ll do.
It’s gonna be a long walk home…