An Eventful Day In D.C.: A Walk Into The Past, A Presidential Inauguration, And A Visit To My Alma Mater.

An Eventful Day In D.C.: A Walk Into The Past, A Presidential Inauguration, And A Visit To My Alma Mater.

Inauguration Friday. Cathulic U. -9
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I  awoke early Friday morning  in Silver Spring, Maryland, for  the first time in three decades.   I  was excited to begin my  walk to the  house  I lived in during my third year in law school. It was located about 1 1/2 miles from my hotel, on Louis Avenue.  I haven’t seen it in 34 years.  I left my hotel  in the morning twilight and made my way  along the awakening streets of this Washington D.C suburb,  to Second Avenue, a walk I would take many times while a  student. . Silkver Spring -2

I found many changes  in the area near the metro station. There was  a lot of new residential apartment buildings,  commercial  buildings and townhouses, replacing the older residential homes that exited when I lived here. Silkver Spring -5

But, after a few blocks I found the old small. but stately brick homes that I remembered and which dominated the North Woodside  neighborhood where  I lived. Silkver Spring -7

After a few blocks walk on Second Avenue I came to it’s intersection with 16th street. As I did during my  many walks to the metro station while in law school I waited patiently for a traffic light on this busy highway.  Silkver Spring -13

Although traffic was still heavy on 16th street, there was little  automobile or pedestrian traffic in my old neighborhood on the other side of the highway. Silkver Spring -11

It was still the quiet place I remembered.  Most of the homes still remained although a few  of the small brick homes were replaced with new  townhouses or large condominiums.Silkver Spring -12

Some  of the old homes, built in the 1930’s remained. And I recognized many of them, especially this one, which because of the hilly front yard, I often wondered how the owners were able cut the grass. Silkver Spring -23

I found my house, which I rented with three of my classmates and thought of the many good times, and some of the bad times, the arduous study, the lack of money and the uncertainty of the future that all law students know all too well. As these reflections of times past filtered into my present, I  once again couldn’t believe how quickly the time had passed since I last stood here. Silkver Spring -20

It was a reflective walk back to the hotel, as I recalled my years spent in this neighborhood. A cold rain being to fall as I approached my hotel. Here is a link to some more photographs of my morning walk.

After  a nice breakfast I changed into my rain gear  and  headed back to the metro station around 10 a.m. I was still hoping to get to see  the Inauguration of the new President. A light rain began to fall as I waited for the train to downtown. I sped past the familiar stops, as I did the day before but found an entirely different scene when I left the train  at Union Station. Inauguration Friday. -1

There were now crowds of people, many  folks peacefully protesting the soon to be President and  some last minute supporters hurrying to the Inauguration. Inauguration Friday.-3

I did see a  number of these folks confront the protesters but they were in the minority and ignored.  As I said in my prior post about my first day of my trip to Washington D.C. , although I have strong opinions, this blog post is about what I saw not what I thought about the Inauguration. Inauguration Friday.-1

And unfortunately I didn’t get to see either the Inauguration ceremony or parade. I really had hoped I could “scalp” a ticket to the reserved Gate area. They were selling on line for $175 each even though they were supposed to be “free’.  I saw the lines for these reserved Gates and decided to try the free admission areas a few blocks further west on the Mall.Inauguration Friday.-17

I made my way past the folks heading to the Gates, and found many more protesters of ,  and supporters of the still President elect,   many  of the later being of  religious variety, yelling at everyone in their megaphones that we all faced eternal damnation. Inauguration Friday.-11

I engaged in a number of conversations with folks from both sides and all over our Country and all I can say is our Nation is deeply divided.  I waited for about twenty minutes in one of the lines for admission to the Mall area. It didn’t move at all. Inauguration Friday.-12

I walked a few blocks further west and found a second line that was not moving either. The fact is, and the photographs will show, that in both lines protesters far exceeded the supporters of the President elect. Inauguration Friday.-29

It was becoming apparent that most of the folks in these lines would not be admitted for the Inauguration. I was told by a Washington D.C. police officer that they closed two gates because of the number pf protesters. I decided to return to the gates for the reserved sections, hoping to scalp a ticket, but found these  gates were now closed. Realizing I wouldn’t see, and share these historic ceremonies, I decided to explore and observe the large crowds now filling the streets outside of the secured area of the Mall. Most were protesters but there were also many disappointed supporters who now realized they would not gain entry to see the installation of the new President. Inauguration Friday.-32

Like many of these folks, I found a nearby restaurant and watched the Inauguration with a large crowd of disappointed Trump supporters, who loudly cheered during the ceremony. So close, yet so far.  Inauguration Friday.-37

I roamed around downtown Washington D’C, for a bit, including the Chinatown area where I got a bowl of excellent soup  at one of the many restaurants. Inauguration Friday.-41

I made my way through  through the still large  crowds, now including many folks returning from the Inauguration ceremony, and back to the two gates to try and get in to see the Inauguration Parade. Inauguration Friday.-34

Unfortunately the lines where even longer, and slower,  so  I decided I would not wait for hours and possibly still not gain entrance to the Mall to see the parade. Here is a link to some more photographs I took at the Inauguration entrances. Friday.-25

 I found the nearest metro station and took the short ride on the red line to a once familiar, but now considerably changed, Brookland exit. This was the station for the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America, my law school alma mater.Inauguration Friday. Cathulic U. -1

Once again,  I had that strange sensation, upon leaving the metro station, of being  so aware of my surroundings,  yes knowing 34 years had passed since I was last here. Inauguration Friday. Cathulic U. -5

The area around the metro station changed considerably,  many of the old building were  gone, replaced by a new shopping mall. But once I left this new area I soon saw the familiar old buildings of Catholic University along Michigan Avenue. Inauguration Friday. Cathulic U. -2

I headed straight for the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, The impressive steeple and dome of the majestic building dominate the Catholic University  campus. It was a sight I had become accustomed to seeing every day for the three years I attended law school and I had realized now, that I had grown accustomed to it’s beauty. Inauguration Friday. Cathulic U. -19

I walked up to the imposing structure and recalled, as i entered the large wooden doors,  the first time I visited here,   on an 8th grade field trip. How different, and carefree my life was then. Inauguration Friday. Cathulic U. -8

It was an emotional visit to this beautiful church, where I  spent so much time during my three years here in law school. I  attended Mass on Sundays, ate  many meals in the cafeteria, especially on weekends, and spent many hours reflecting on my studies and future in the quiet of the main church and the many chapels. Inauguration Friday. Cathulic U. Shjrine -16

It was an even more emotional visit to the Chapel devoted to Our Lady of Czestochowa, or the Black Maddona. She is considered to be the protector of Poland.  My father, a very religious man, was devoted to Her and attributed Her protection to saving his life during World War II.  We lost dad three years ago but he was with me in the chapel that afternoon. Inauguration Friday. Cathulic U. Shjrine -24

After spending some time in the chapel I roamed the many areas of the large and beautiful Shrine reflecting on the thoughts I had as a young man here  and how they unfolded in the ensuing years of my life.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my visit to the National Shrine. Friday. Cathulic U. Shjrine -3

I left the Shrine and took a leisurely walk through the Catholic University campus, first visiting my the building where I attended law school. Inauguration Friday. Cathulic U. -16

And I saw for the first time then the new impressive building that now houses my alma mater, the Columbus School of Law.  Unfortunately, the school was closed for the Inauguration and I wasn’t able to inspect the interior and classrooms. Hopefully, it won’t be another 34 years until I return, Inauguration Friday. Cathulic U. -27

I made my way through the campus, old memories being rekindled on every turn and, getting tired from another long day returned to the metro station for my ride to my hotel. Here our some more photographs from my walk around the Catholic University Campus. Friday. Cathulic U. -3

I was tired, so I decided to eat at the restaurant next to the hotel, Sergio’s and what a good decision it was. I met the owner who told me he opened the restaurant 34 years ago, when I left the city.  I enjoyed a truly delicious meal and a glass of wine. A perfect way to end a wonderful, long overdue,  day in our Nation’s Capital. 

“The past beats inside me like a second heart.” 

John Banville