Gretchen Rubin

Like January 1 or a Birthday, Inauguration Day Prompts Me to Reflect. Plus, Schoolhouse Rock.

Like January 1 or a Birthday, Inauguration Day Prompts Me to Reflect. Plus, Schoolhouse Rock.

I often get what I call the "America feeling." It's such an intense emotion, that I usually get all choked up.

I got it when I went to see the Broadway show Hamilton, especially during the song "Cabinet Battle #1":  "'Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' We fought for these ideals; we shouldn't settle for less."

I get it every time I hear the song "The Farmer and the Cowman" from the musical Oklahoma! "I don't say I'm no better than anybody else -- but I'll be danged if I ain't jist as good!"

When I was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, I got it every time the Court was called to order before oral arguments. "Oyes! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United States and this Honorable Court."

I get it every time I vote.

When I was writing my biography of John Kennedy, Forty Ways to Look at JFK, I got it each time I read my favorite speech of June 11, 1963. "This is one country."

I got it when I applied for an emergency passport.

And today I keep thinking about something that always gives me the America feeling -- the Schoolhouse Rock video, "Preamble." How I love Schoolhouse Rock.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

In seventh grade, we all had to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution, and Schoolhouse Rock made it easy.

Do you experience something like the "America feeling?"

(Fill in the name of your own country!) Under what circumstances?

Certain days, such as January 1 or the celebration of a birthday, often remind us to reflect on our lives and our hopes for the future.

For me at least, Inauguration Day is prompting me to think about the highest ideals of the United States, and how I, in my own way, can strive to fulfill its promise.

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