Long Island played a supporting role in the presidential inauguration from offering musical talent before the big day to supplying celebratory libations afterward—plus local residents that went to Washington, D.C. for the occasion.
Bedell Cellars winery in Cutchogue provided a 2009 Merlot for the 2013 Inaugural Luncheon on Monday. The Stony Brook School’s Chamber Singers sang a South African song called “Bonse Aba” during a pre-inauguration celebration Saturday. And countless Long Islanders braved the cold to watch President Barack Obama’s second inauguration live.
“Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life,” Obama said from the steps of the Capitol Building. “It does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time—but it does require us to act in our time.”
The president gave his second inaugural address Monday after a ceremonial oath. Chief Justice John Roberts had sworn Obama shortly before noon Jan. 20, as is legally required, but his swearing in ceremony was redone publicly Monday for the full day’s events, which coincided with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Whenever Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, it is rescheduled for the following day.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said the caterers for the 2013 Inaugural Luncheon chose Bedell, the North Fork wine.
“Serving Long Island’s own Bedell Cellars Merlot at the Inaugural luncheon shines a spotlight on one of New York’s world-class wine industry,” said Schumer. The senator was reportedly pushing for Long Island duck on the menu, but the Merlot will be served with bison instead.
The 16-member Stony Brook School Chamber Singers had received an invitation to sing in an inauguration event at the National City Christian Church as well. They were among 40 ensembles invited to perform from across the country.
In addition to LI residents who drove down to the nation’s capital on their own, some organized bus trips, including an NAACP-chartered coach to D.C. from Lakeview that left early Monday morning destined for the National Mall.
Comparing the Founding Fathers to the partisan gridlock in today’s Congress were dominant themes woven throughout Obama’s speech as he nudged the Republican majority that has blocked his legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay,” the president said. “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and 40 years, and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.”