Although I was neither born nor raised in DC, it is definitively my home town. Potomac fever struck in high school and after the requisite internships as an undergraduate, I moved here after college. DC is where I established my professional career, met my husband, got married, had kids, and bought one house and then another. If you wondering whether I live in Virginia or Maryland, the answer is neither. I am a legal resident of the District of Columbia. Yes, people really do live here and no, the population doesn't turn over every four or eight years like the residents of the White House.
One of the things I love most about DC is that it's not all things to all people. It's black and white, rich and poor, stately homes and up and coming neighborhoods, longstanding residents and newcomers arriving from the four corners of the earth. Most of all, it's not the place you see depicted on The West Wing or hear disparaged by talk radio. It's full of real people with real stories and real heart.
We arrived back on American shores just in time to celebrate Independence Day, the morning of which we spent like so many Fourth of Julys before, sitting on the curb on MacArthur Boulevard watching the Palisades parade go by. We don't live in the Palisades neighborhood but that doesn't matter. Anyone can feel a part of the home town atmosphere which begins always with the Scouts and bagpipes.
There were fire trucks and policemen; kids with their bikes decorated in red, white, and blue; dancers from Bolivia and Peru; gentlemen on horseback; neighborhood librarians pushing their book trolleys; and local merchants and associations tossing candy to crowds. The candy is an important part of the ritual; my kids routinely collect enough to last them (if they pace themselves) all the way to Halloween. Even so, they didn't have quite the same optimism as this little guy.
And this being DC, there were the politicians: city council members, school board representatives, and of course the mayor (although no one cheered much for him). We have some catching up to do on local politics so while I can't give you the back story on this banner, I still admired its frankness.
And where else but in DC would the ACLU have a float, complete with its own musical combo?
Thanks all for welcoming us home.