Brenda Meli, Director of Admissions, Chelsea Eubank, Director of Recruitment and Advancement, and Michelle DuRoss, Assistant Professor of History traveled to Washington DC for the 57th Presidential Inauguration. Ms. Meli and Dr. DuRoss attended Sunshine and Stars, Florida’s Inaugural Ball on Saturday night before joining with Ms. Eubank the next day for the All-American Ball, honoring America’s military. They joined Scott Wilbur, alumnus of 2009, who is currently working for Montgomery County in Virginiawith students who have disabilities, on Monday for the presidential inaugural parade.
The Disability Constituent Coordinator for the 57th Presidential Inaugural Committee contacted Brenda Meli as a representative of Beacon College to attend these events. The relationship between this Committee Member and Beacon College began as a result of the 4.0 Partnership that was established with AAPD during the Spring 2012 term.
The group took their seats near the intersection of 15th Street and Pennsylvania Ave on the morning of the 21st to await the 2:30 parade. They waited in anticipation after the procession began since their perch was near the end of the parade route. The hours of waiting were passed quickly thanks to massive loudspeakers that allowed them to hear the inaugural ceremony, followed by a repetitive loop of music that allowed discussions on a variety of topics from the chilly 20 degree viewing area to public policy and learning disabilities. They also noted the snipers on rooftops, along with the security lines of police officers and military personnel. The Army, standing guard along 15th Street, provided the group with glimpses of the orderly military formations giving way to chatting and laughing in the hours before the parade arrived. The presence of law and order was to ensure the peaceful transfer of power, which has characterized America since its founding. The 2013 inaugural ceremony and parade combined the new with the old. President Obama’s address specifically noted his support for gay rights, a first for a U.S. president in the inaugural address. His taking the oath on two Bibles – Abraham Lincoln’s and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s – highlights the historic continuity, yet changes in America’s quest for equality.
~ Dr. Michelle DuRoss and Ms. Brenda Meli