Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Where were you?

Yesterday marked the most historic moment of my adult life thus far. The first black man was elected president.

I was beyond inspired listening to his inaugural speech. He spoke to the two million people who braved the cold to see him in Washington, he spoke to our enemies and allies, he spoke to the young and old, and he spoke to me.

"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met."

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord."

"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

"Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage."

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."

"Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old."

"... And why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath."

These quotes and many more left me in awe of my new president. It was the first time I have ever heard a president's speech and was left inspired, hopeful and excited. It was more than his words, it was his genuine earnest and love and patriotism that came along with them.

As I sat in a restaurant with my new boss and coworkers, surrounded by TVs and other hopeful Americans, I felt more patriotic than I have since Sept. 11. I know he won't solve all our problems. I know it won't happen overnight. But I believe the ball has started rolling. Things will get better. Even if you didn't vote for him, even if you don't believe in everything he stands for, even if you think he's too inexperienced, I hope you respect him and know he's a great man. He is our President.

Where were you on this historic moment?

1 comment:

katnc24 said...

My dad and I were just saying it's been a long time since a presidential speech inspired us - encouraged us - made us believe. I'm so proud of our country.