Realizing the Dream
By Capt. Darrell Bogan, 94th Equal Opportunity Office
/ Published January 30, 2009
DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. -- The trip to Washington D.C. was filled with anticipation and joy. I pulled out of Atlanta around 6 a.m. Jan. 15, the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and arrived in D.C. around 4:30 p.m.
During the ride I had hoped the entire weekend would be filled with Doctor King's dream being realized. That whatever events we attended, they would be filled with a multicultural mix of Americans - a true reflection of our makeup.
At every event I attended, that dream was realized. And the epitome of that dream was during the inauguration. There were people from every race and religion represented as well as all ages. Everyone talked to each other, some cried, some smiled ear-to-ear but we all bared witness to the same.
The process of getting to the Nationall Mall and enduring the intense cold was not for the weak or weary. We were up by 5:15 a.m. and left my best friend's townhome by 5:45 a.m. The Metrorail train into town was filled to capacity. When we arrived at the Le'Fante Plaza station and exited the trains, the crowds were so thick that we were stuck in the subway for what seemed like 30 minutes.
Using quick wit, we reloaded the Metro and rode back one stop to the Waterfront station, where we exited with ease and walked about three miles to take our place among the sea of people who had already gathered.
The temperature was about 18 degrees with an anticipated high of 23. We stood, and stood and stood for at least six hours before the ceremony began. To hold our attention, there was a rebroadcast of Sunday's event on the large screens. Then the camera switched to shots of people entering the seated area.
It panned across Oprah, Beyonce, rapper Jay-Z and our very own Capt. Toney Collins (94th Logistics Readiness Squadron). Everybody in the crowded screamed when they saw the aforementioned celebrities but I think I let out the loudest with I saw Capt. Collins. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy but it was hometown love I was showing.