American Go E-Journal

Live at the White House: A Report from the Welcome Ceremonies for China’s President

Friday January 21, 2011

by Allan Abramson, AGA President
It was cloudy and cold early Wednesday morning, as we went through the White House security lines. Feng Yun 9P and Paul Matthews had risen at 2 am in northern New Jersey to drive to DC and Paul Celmer and Frank Salantrie had driven in from North Carolina on Tuesday. Feng Yun and Paul had to wait an hour for clearance, as her name had been reversed on the guest list for the welcoming ceremony for Chinese President Hu Jintao. We had all been invited because of the go community’s contributions to President Obama’s gift last year to President Hu of an America-made go board and bowls, plus fine jade Chinese stones donated by Feng Yun (Go Community To Attend White House Event Welcoming Chinese President 1/17 EJ). Companies from all the military services assembled on the South Lawn, including one dressed in Revolutionary War red. A band played before the 9 am ceremony started. It was a full military review, with upwards of 400 invited guests, plus dignitaries. Small U.S. and Chinese flags had been given to us to wave before the press cameras. Presidents Obama and Hu began with a walk on the lawn to inspect the assembled companies, and then they shook hands with invited children from schools with Chinese language  and cultural instruction, before going up to the podium. Each made a speech, full of promises and pledges for cooperation between our countries. Then they went up the stairs into the White House, ending the formal ceremony. The go community’s presence at this meeting between the two leading superpowers provides a metaphor for peaceful competition. It also offers us a glimpse of a positive future, when go becomes an integral part of our society. Once again, we are challenged to make this happen.
photos by Allan Abramson; top right, l-r: Salantrie, Celmer, Feng Yun & Matthews. Click here for an online photo album

Categories: U.S./North America