Joanna and I have both been interested in politics for as long as we can remember, so we consider ourselves fortunate to be able to visit Washington, D.C., several times. We now take students there every couple of years. One of those visits was during the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th U.S. president.

Of course, neither of us has been thrilled with all of Obama’s actions, and I’ve regularly criticized him elsewhere. But the energy, enthusiasm and patriotism in Washington during the 2009 inauguration and the days leading up to it were unlike anything we’ve ever seen elsewhere. It didn’t hurt that we were spending our time there with an amazing bunch of journalism students, even if we weren’t at any of the official events rubbing elbows with celebrities.

Inaugurations are frequently noted for their music, and the song that got the most attention during in 2009 was Beyoncé’s version of “At Last.” She did a great job, and the Obamas looked great as they danced to it. But my favorite version of “At Last,”, and one of the greatest love songs of all time (especially since Joanna made it come true for me), will always be the one by Etta James.

Lyrics here, with video below:

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