This is the flag of Burkina Faso. Please commit it to memory and if you see it in the Peace Corps contingent of Tuesday's Inaugural Parade, look below it and you just may see John! He'll either be carrying it or marching beside the guy carrying it and asking, "Are your arms tired? 'Cause I'd be glad to help you out with that flag!"
Don't expect John to wave, fist bump Obama or even stop to gawk in front of the White House. The marching instructions for those in the parade are quite strict and comprehensive, and even include actual instructions for marching, "The Parade route is approximately 1.6 miles. The parade organizers estimate it will be traversed in 25 minutes at a pace of 112 steps per minute with 28-inch steps. The Parade route is up Pennsylvania Avenue from 4th Street to 15th Street, north on 15th and then west back on Pennsylvania Avenue passing in front of the White House reviewing stand. You will not be permitted to stop in front of the White House reviewing stand and any sudden movements may be interpreted as aggressive by the United States Secret Service. " He also want be taking any photos as those in the parade are not allowed to carry cameras!
We've been told over and over again to DRESS WARM!!!! However, it's forecast to be in the 30's in DC on Tuesday. It was 11 degrees below zero here this morning. So frankly, 30 degrees is sounding pretty darn balmy to us. But fear not, for Christmas John got a parade care kit including toasty socks, foot and hand warmers, a bright red hat (to make it easier for the rest of us to spot him in the crowd - although he may opt for something less warm and more African) AND a bandana (ever handy, just in case the crowd gets tear-gassed or someone needs a tourniquet). Hey, it's not just the Boy Scouts who are always prepared.
We are all headed down to the DC area - staying with relatives in northern VA. We're NOT driving a 25-year-old biodiesel RV, so we actually do expect to make it on time. We will do some sightseeing and mixing with the jubilant crowds in DC on Sunday and possibly Monday. The kids will watch (or not watch) Tuesday's events from the warmth and safety of their cousins' house in VA. Eve might or might not try to brave the maelstrom (much more difficult without her 6'2" navigator, who will be smack in the middle of the maelstrom) and get into DC and watch with a Peace Corps friend whose husband will be marching with John. Either way, we are beyond THRILLED to get to witness history up close and kind of personal.
I'll keep you posted,