For some of the unfortunate holders of purple, silver and blue tickets, the Inauguration was a day to remember for all the wrong reasons. Being turned away. Standing on the outside, looking in. Missing it.
Luckily, creating new memories of Washington, D.C., can help. Even if they involve visiting the past.
I returned to Pennsylvania Avenue yesterday after my disheartening attempt at being there to attend the Inauguration. If you read that story, you know it was right up there as one of the worst days of my life. So yesterday I returned to Pennsylvania Avenue to see the Newseum.
This was my daughter's idea, in the hope that it would make me feel better, and it did.
It is by far, one of the most amazing places I've ever been. It is a beautiful building, in the heart of all the museums, with the Capitol in full view. The building itself is five floors of stunning, heart aching, funny, and above all, memorable exhibits.
When I first walked in I was struck by the poignancy of the Pulitzer Prize winning photographs. They are a collection of photographs that indeed are each worth more than 1,000 words. Many from the 1970s, I had actually remembered having "come of age" in that decade. There was the one titled, "Assault With a Flag," an angry photograph showing a white man making the American flag into a weapon towards a black man in Boston in 1977. I remembered the horror of the picture taken of the little girl in 1973 running naked through the street, as her city was under siege. It was simply titled, "Napalm Attack." There was the heartbreaking picture of the Twin Towers, simply titled, "9/11." A photo from 1958 called, "Faith and Confidence," showed a young boy looking up with admiration at a police officer. They all told the story without a word.
The exhibits are too numerous to mention more than a few. But they were all astonishing. There is the Unabomber's cabin. The antenna from one of the Twin Towers in New York City. A large panel of the Berlin Wall. I almost had to remind myself to breathe. There was Patty Hearst's gun and jacket. Donald Brasco's watch and American Express Card. Timothy McVeigh's driver's license and a press pass to his execution.
The newspapers themselves were astonishing. I did not know that newspapers were around in the 1500s. One interesting paper, the Herald-Leader, from Lexington, Ky., wrote an acknowledgment in 2004 in which admitted it had deliberately ignored covering the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and '60s. They closed with this statement: "We regret the omission."
I got to see an original copy of The North Star, Frederick Douglas' newspaper in the mid 1800s. I saw the board on which the late Tim Russert had written the famous words, "Florida, Florida, Florida."
It made me think that journalists really do have one of the best jobs in the world. It made me think how amazing the world is. And it reminded me of the quote which is reputed to be a bad luck curse, "May you live in interesting times...."
How can we not? What a wonderful day.
Share your stories about the Newseum and Pennsylvania Avenue on Tokoni.