Tuesday was a very special day in our nation’s history. I sat down in my office to talk to Amelia about it. It was a day to remember and celebrate something very important to the fabric of American culture. Yes, January 20, 2021 would have been the 101st birthday of DeForest Kelley, the actor who played Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on Star Trek.
Would Star Trek have worked at all without the emotional country doctor playing foil to cold and logical Mr. Spock? I don’t want to know. Though he died in 1999, Kelley is not really dead…as long as we still remember him.
It was also Inauguration Day.
OK, to be serious, that second one was MUCH MORE important. That it happened to fall on DeForest Kelley’s birthday was just a happy coincidence and a nice bit of frosting on a really lovely and delicious cake.
Erin and I were very excited for the turning of a page, and I think given the events of a few weeks ago, this day felt more precious, fragile and beautiful than ever. We’ve had moments that have given us cause to doubt the health and future of the American experiment, but this was a day that stood proud as a beacon to show that we can and will overcome obstacles and can still hold proud our past and remain hopeful for the future.
It was an extraordinary and emotional moment to see the first woman sworn in as Vice President. And it was heartwarming to see Joe Biden, a man I appreciate precisely because he is flawed and vulnerable like all of us, rise to the occasion and deliver a soaring, inspirational and uplifting address. Amelia was on a break from school and got to watch part of it with me. I’ll always remember that special moment, too.
And wow, the young poet who stepped up and delivered something that I think stuck with everyone who heard it. I was an English Lit major in college and have read, heard and studied my share of poetry before, but I don’t think it was until that very moment that I understood how powerful the form could be. If you’re reading this and haven’t heard it, I highly suggest you look up the video of Amanda Gorman presenting her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” The final few lines still stick with me: