We stood in the rain for at least an hour, waiting. The excitement was palpable even if the we were cold to the bone. This is what we had worked toward through endless practice sessions over weeks. We were not going to let a little rain stop us. We all knew the songs, knew them better than any songs we'd done before. This was to be the most important concert ever. I held my flute so tight, waiting for the moment to play.
There were maybe 30 or 40 of us 5th and 6th graders in the band. All of us had only been playing for 6 to 18 months. We stood in front of the crowd of elementary school students. They all had umbrellas, but with our instruments, we couldn't hold them. So we stood in the rain and waited.
Then his plane landed. We started to play as he came out. He was going to hear us play. I could barely move my fingers because of the excitement, fear, and awe.
Then it happened.
He was surrounded and bundled away. He never heard a note we played. The car took off. We stood there stunned. Wondering what we had done.
Later, we learned that there had been a bomb threat. The president was much too important to permit to stay on the base. Yet, an elementary school's worth of children stood on the tarmac in the rain during the threat and word one was not uttered. They never bothered to move us.
That was the day I started to grow up. I learned what politics and government were all about: saving politicians, not saving the future. As I drove by that tarmac again tonight, lit up waiting for a plane to land in the rain, I thought about that day and realized nothing has changed, except the faces of politicians who sacrifice the children to save their own jobs.