A Saturday in 'This Town' for the Books

Far too often we hear about the worst parts of DC, but every once in awhile, you get one of those days that speaks to how special this town truly is and this past Saturday was one of them.

  • I saw huge crowds gathering for the opening ceremony for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was a collection of fantastic speeches from everyone including Rep. John Lewis, Chief Justice John Roberts, Presidents Obama and Bush, and so many others.
  • It was hard not to be moved when hearing the Chief Justice speak passionately about the things the Supreme Court got wrong in its long history, or to hear President Bush proclaim "A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws, and corrects them." You should definitely watch the entire event via the CSPAN archive. It was truly something to see.
  • And "the hug" made us all briefly forget that the first Clinton/Trump debate is in just a few hours.
  • From the National Mall, I had just thirty minutes to make it over the Convention Center for a 1:00PM session at the National Book Festival featuring Candice Millard, author of the phenomenal "Destiny of the Republic." I sprinted from the Washington Monument, down Independence Ave., under the Department of Energy Headquarters, and over towards L'Enfant Plaza metro station. There's a place, in the concrete paradise of L'Enfant Plaza, where you briefly cross over the 9th Street Expressway and the moment I got there I could hear the sirens of approaching police motorcycles - the usual call of an impending motorcade. It's a common DC sound, something that quickly becomes part of the background noise. But this time I decided to stop and watch the motorcade speed by into the tunnel underneath.
  • Over at the Convention Center, the National Book Festival already swelled with huge crowds of book lovers and smiling children. In a mastery of DC transit, I was only five minutes late to the aforementioned session with Candice Millard. Later I heard John Meacham give a powerful talk on his 9-years interviewing the 41st President for his book "Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush."
  • Later, I ran into Rep. John Lewis again. In the morning, I watched him on the giant screens on the National Mall. Now in the afternoon, I watched him from the front row as he spoke on his powerful graphic novel, "March." To my everlasting disappointment, I don't think CSPAN recorded his talk, it was one of the best John Lewis speeches I've ever heard. Sitting in that audience that day, was a privilege I won't soon forget.

These are some of the memories that make DC a special place, the unmistakable sense of being surrounded by history.

Crowds gather on the National Mall to watch screens of the dedication events at the National Museum of African American History & Culture, in the distance on the right.

 Parents brought their children to see the dedication events.

Parents brought their children to see the dedication events.

Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith present at the museum grand opening.

 Rep. John Lewis takes a moment to greet an audience member before his talk on his graphic novel series, "March."

Rep. John Lewis takes a moment to greet an audience member before his talk on his graphic novel series, "March."