Driving into the city before dawn, the lights of the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Memorial fill the still-hazy sky. Police cars line Connecticut Avenue surrounding the Hilton as guests from all around the world arrive for the National Prayer Breakfast. Protesters are already assembling, eager for world leaders to hear their concerns.
It is still dark, but commuters walk briskly to buses, to metro, already consumed with the day ahead. The train is full – but not crowded – and silent, except for the rustling of papers and the wrist watch alarm announcing 7am.
Day light has arrived unnoticed as I make my way on busy sidewalks to the cafe. One lone corner table for two stands by the window and I take it gladly. The paper is fully of news of riots in Egypt, Presidential campaign blunders, and tales of inequality. It is too much.
Coffee arrives with perfunctory flattery from the waiter. Tourists, businessmen, and blue collar workers all pause alike as motorcycles, police cars, limousines and SUVs race by with sirens blazing, distracting from the conversations that had held sway moments ago. It is the President, being whisked to the prayer breakfast to lift up his own voice, joining those assembled, to pray for this broken nation and this weary world.
A man runs by, pushing his daughter in a stroller, oblivious to the concerns of the world and the agenda of the President – unaware of the world around his, save for the mist on his daughter’s face and the cracks in the sidewalk.
And so it beings: Thursday morning in our nation’s Capital.