On Tuesday, January 20, Dave and I joined some six or seven hundred of our Syracuse neighbors at the Palace Theatre to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama. For those of you who couldn’t be there, I’m sorry you missed it. I hope you were with others who were as moved by the whole thing as that packed theater was.
I’d like to shout a hearty “Thank you!” to Michael Heagerty, the owner of the Palace, who so generously opened the theater for this event, allowing everyone in for free. Not only that, he had the good sense to choose CSPAN to project onto that big screen. A brilliant move! Because we were not subjected to non-stop commentary and clever shots taken at various times, we were able to really feel like we were right there, in the moment, simply watching it unfold with millions of other teary-eyed Americans.
The crowd was great. Along with everyone in there, we laughed, we clapped, we cheered, we stood up and sat down when told to do so. All in unison with the folks out there on that freezing mall.
We later learned that some people with “coveted tickets” didn’t make it in. How sad! Here in Eastwood, we’re blessed with one of the greatest semi-public spaces a neighborhood can have: an independent theater run by a member of the family that built it. This historic moment would not have been the same had Michael not risked a good chunk of change to renovate it and make it available to all.
Syracuse has its problems and quirks, but I will never forget the words of a visitor from Madrid who stayed with us for a few days back in 1991: ¡Vivís una vida privilegiada! You-all live a privileged life!
It’s the old beloved places large and small and the big-hearted people like Michael who help to make our lives in this community more privileged than we often realize.