'Part of the Greatest Show on Earth'

by Mae Scanlan


My love affair with Washington began in 1948, when my father was transferred to the Navy's Bureau of Ships. I was 16. I have lived in Washington ever since.

Let me tell you what being a Washingtonian means to me. It means graduating from Wilson High and GWU, with the Library of Congress and the Folger among my resources. It means working in DC, meeting my husband, a Washingtonian, in DC and marrying him in DC, having my children in DC hospitals, sending them to DC public schools, always taking them to RFK Stadium on baseball's opening day, where the President threw out the first ball.

It means watching sunsets at Hains Point, joining festivals on the SW waterfront, attending the dedication ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and riding the new Metro, along with Mayor Washington, on its inaugural run.

Being a Washingtonian means being a part of the greatest show on earth: the workings of our government. It means repeated trips to topnotch museums, galleries and jazz joints, serving on a dozen juries, and watching our son run the Marine Marathon. It means appreciating the history, beauty, vibrancy and people of my wonderful city.

You must live in DC to be a Washingtonian. Those in our neighboring states cannot comprehend our frustration at having no federal representation, nor our determination to correct that injustice, a bond that unites us. Being involved with our neighbors, our co-workers, our city administrators, and helping to correct what's wrong with our city as well as valuing what's right --- always remembering how far we've come --- that's being a Washingtonian.

Until security concerns prevented it, one of my all-time favorite activities was to climb the steps of our magnificent Capitol, turn around, take a deep breath, and savor my beloved city. I miss that.

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  January 26, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  Reader Submission
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