A willing suspension of disbelief hung over this area from the very beginning: starting with the announcement that THE Booker T. Washington High School had placed among the six finalists to have the president speak at their commencement. Then, the announcement that they had placed among the final three...and then...and then, the news that they had won. Surely, the president of the United States of America would not come to Memphis. Surely, he would not deliver the commencement address to a high school which is located in the 14th highest crime district in the U.S. Surely, not! So we waited with bated breath. Until Air Force One landed at the military base and 44 came down the steps! He actually came! OMG! The whole town exhaled as one!
Television stations preempted their regular programming and stayed with the big event right up until he left the stage. "Air Force One has left Washington, D.C." Descriptions of the plane, the interior, the limos, as much of the security information as was allowed, and on, and on. Professional newscasters were absolutely giddy! As were the people on the street. Everyone was jockeying for a place to just catch a glimpse of either the man or the motorcade.
Even jaded Missy was glued to the t.v. set. Jaded because the travels of the president, his landings, departures, and motorcades are commonplace in D.C., and are more of a ho-hum affair. Until you get to see him in person, that is. So the hoopla (and don't I wish that I'd been somewhere to see 44?) was amusing.
Dignitaries were lined up to greet him as he bounded down the steps. Two students from the senior class were also waiting to greet him; the young man featured in the opening and closing scenes of the video that the school had submitted and a young lady whose name just didn't make the news. Chris Dean was also selected to introduce the president during the ceremony. If he wasn't a celebrity before the exercise, he is surely one now. Check him out.
Introducing the President
44 surprised the students with a visit to their "holding" area, prior to the start of the ceremony. One young lady dissolved into tears and the photos of his comforting her were touching. Yeah, Missy cried on and off during the entire proceedings, as well. The president delivered on all counts. His speech commended them on their achievements and encouraged them to do more. Obama's Speech
The students on the program handled themselves very well. Much better than the adults. Their cool leader, the principal, just plain lost it. If I could have snatched her off of the stage, I would have. "Grandma...I'm on the stage with the president." No. She. Did-ent. LOL!
And, the best news of all is that the valedictorian, salutatorian, and Mr. Dean, have all been offered internships at the White House. White House Internships Fantastic! Way to go in delivering hope, 44!
Check out the photos of these outstanding young men and women. Somebody in D.C., needs to offer up some room and board.
Be safe. Be Blessed.