I was in London for a meeting today, a 1-3pm meeting consumes the entire day when there is a 2 hour commute each way…
I decided to pop into a pub at Paddington station to watch the inauguration as I didn’t think I had time to make it home by the 5pm GMT swearing in. About 4:30 the pub turned all of the TVs onto the inauguration.
The pub was full and almost everyone was watching and listening. A woman was looking for a seat and I offered her the other seat at my small table. She said ‘are you an American?’ and we chatted a bit. I would point out who was who and she had a few questions.
I asked ‘do you do anything special for the prime minister?’ ‘Oh no!’ was the answer, ‘we save that for the coronation.’ Oddly, this woman was not quite old enough to have witnessed the last coronation, so she had never even seen one.
They turned the commentary on right before Obama came out. During the swearing in everyone was paying fast attention, I noticed my table-mate wipe a tear. Everyone applauded. Really nice.
I was quite suprised how many people stayed and paid attention through the entire address. Midway through my table-mate started crying. Again. Really crying this time. Wild. Then, Obama started talking about George Washington, encamped against the British. He didn’t name the British specifically, but we all know who it was. I basked in the irony of the moment. An American, in a crowd of Brits, watching events unfold in my home country. The Brits are crying about the beauty of the moment until the star starts reminiscing about the war where we beat them.