Tuesday, January 1, 2013

An Emancipation New Year

Rather than ringing in the New Year quietly or with champagne and a party, this New Year's Eve was one of a kind.

Thanks to my lovely cousin Jan, who lives in Boston and posted a link to an article from the UK (it's truly a global village), I learned of a New Year's Eve Watch Night celebration at the National Archives commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

After a sumptuous 9...10?...11? course feast at Sushi Taro (I finally ate fugu and we survived!) we were both wiped out but decided to drive by the Archives and if there wasn't a line we'd go in and take a look at the Emancipation Proclamation.  There was no line, on the outside, but after we passed security we were committed.

As the line slowly meandered into the Archives Rotunda and past the Magna Carta it became clear that we'd be there at midnight.  At 11:30 a choir began beautiful renditions of folks songs and spirituals, followed by a few brief speeches. Shortly before midnight, a historical re-enactor playing Harriett Tubman gave a moving perspective on the end of slavery and at the stroke of midnight she began to loudly ring bells of freedom.

We proceeded in line, passing a few feet away from Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress, until we gazed upon the Emancipation Proclamation shortly after midnight.

A very nice way to bring in the New Year.

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