Freedom and Inauguration
Originally uploaded by tbridge
I stood at the Grant Memorial today, and watched the crews working on the scaffolds on the Western Steps of the Capitol, and imagined standing this close, or closer, on Inauguration Day. We won’t go this year, as they’ve closed all the bridges across the Potomac, but for pedestrian and bus traffic, and even I-66 and I-395 will be closed.
I got to thinking, as often I do, about Armèd Freedom that stands on top the tholos of the Capitol. She stands 19′ 6″ tall, cast in five pieces of solid bronze, armed with the sword and shield of Liberty and Freedom. She stands for everything that makes this nation great, and I found it odd that they would choose the Western Steps for the Inauguration.
One would think that the symbolism of standing beneath the protective gaze of Armèd Freedom (our own Athena?) would be the image they were going for. It hit me, as I thought it through, that’s not the right image at all. Freedom and Liberty stand at the back of the President, as equals. Freedom and Liberty are our guide and protector.
I think it will be quite nice to have a President worthy of that protection again. And perhaps one that won’t relegate Freedom and Liberty to buzzwords.
Time will tell.
Until Reagan, inaugurations did, indeed, take place on the East side (or inside, sometimes). I think it’s just a matter of logistics now–more people can see if the ceremony faces the Mall.