I did a bit of blog maintenance over the weekend which reminded me of prior posts that were particularly meaningful to me or just plain fun to write. Over the next few days I thought I would reprint a couple of my favorites. The first golden oldie on deck is my second-ever post, written about my very first moments as Ambassador. This one still makes me smile because of the warmth, excitement, and substance of the occasion.
* * *
FLASHBACK: THE SWEARING-IN
March 15, 2010
Today I got my new credit card in the mail, which triggered a DC flashback because the card is personalized with a photo taken at my swearing-in on December 4, 2009 at the White House. I think I heard somewhere that you shouldn’t post copies of your credit cards on the internet, so here is just the photo itself (a real favorite of mine) showing (clockwise from the left) my Mother Elizabeth, nephew Chris, Vice President Joe Biden, niece Emily, and cousins Erin and Brigid:
It was quite a day.
Walking into the South Auditorium. Surrounded by family and close friends from across the country and as far away as Shanghai. Awed by the sense of history and gravitas in the air. Standing next to my spouse Duane exactly 20 years and 1 month after our commitment ceremony, with my hand on the 125-year-old family Bible that my Grandmother brought with her when she emigrated to America early in the last century. Repeating the oath inscribed in the Constitution and taken by Ambassadors and Cabinet Secretaries since the founding of the Republic. Assuming a title first held by my American idol and fellow Pennsylvanian, Benjamin Franklin. Hearing the Vice President of the United States thank my spouse for the contributions he was about to make by my side in my new post.
I just regret that my Father (David Sr.) did not live quite long enough to be present in body as well as spirit. Meat cutter, immigrant coal miner’s son, and dedicated father who worked hard to give his own sons advantages he never had, he likely popped a button in Heaven watching the goings on.
The Vice President, a fellow coal-cracker from Northeastern Pennsylvania, made the event particularly memorable with his quick wit, generosity of spirit, and kind words. He is a prince of a man with a sharp intellect and an electric presence. He certainly charmed my Mother, a life-long Republican and no-nonsense skeptic of all things political.
In many respects it was a day for Mothers. In the aftermath of the ceremony, I received a surprisingly large number of emails and notes from around the country and from as far away as New Zealand and China about my Mother and Mother-in-Law, whose friendship, easy grace, and delight at the proceedings seemed to strike a chord in the blogosphere.
Family is clearly and naturally family, whatever its complexion and diversity. As my young but wise cousin Erin says, that’s as it should be. (You’ll have to watch the video above to catch the full reference.)
Those who attack other people’s families do not understand in the least what family is.