Our friends Dana and Judith vanBever-Green were finally able to tie the knot after 19 years.
It was a posh affair starting at the Ritz-Carlton in Arlington, Virginia. The wedding guests all boarded a luxury coach and we were whisked over the bridge to the monuments of DC by early evening light. The tour guide explained about the Washington monument's refurbishment after the earthquake (I was there for that event also!). On to the 'Jefferson' where the ceremony would take place.
The day was cool but clear and sunny with a perfectly blue sky. The guests had all been treated to special cosy scarves to wear to avoid any chill. There was a little tag in the pocket that said:
The commitment was conferred by Dana's brother Derek, recently ordained at Harvard Divinity School. Even he was a bit nervous, as this was his very first wedding ceremony. The small group gathered around the spit by the tidal basin with Thomas Jefferson looking approvingly over all.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are crated equal, that
they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable rights, that
among these are Life, Liberty, and
the pursuit of Happiness."
Declaration of Independence
Once back on the coach, we all toasted the newlyweds with champagne and carried on to the new Martin Luther King memorial. The sun was setting as we proceeded up Pennsylvania Avenue, the same route to the Capitol building that the President walks when inaugurated. Around the circle in front of the huge dome, past the botanical gardens and zipping back to the hotel.
Dinner was amazing. We were really puttin' on the Ritz! Lots of speeches and congratulations and some very poignant moments. None more so than the first dance. Dana's eldest son gave this tender perspective:
"As all of you know, this moment means so much more than just what looks like here tonight. The world has changed, and this moment is the proof. It represents the many years that Mom and Judith spent together while the public decided if their relationship was worthy of legalization. The argument continues even here in Virginia…... hence the bus tour. There are so many people, today and in the past, who have experienced the same sense of exclusion. Here tonight we are joined by three other couples who found a way to marry. (Three of Dana and Judith's friends married in California and Maryland.)
Mom and Judith would like to invite Gretchen, Kathleen, Lyn, Katherine, Amy and Reeva to join them on the dance floor to honor this special moment for us, for our families and for those who never could."
This was the song. We all collectively felt we were witnessing history. The room was awash with tears, love and great respect. One wonders why we are still having this conversation in 2013-2014.