On this historic day it is still wonderful to be in London informally representing the country that has ushered in great change which will effect us on a global scale. It is regrettable, however, to be so far from you who are celebrating–or at least witnessing–the changing of the guards. Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in today as the 44th President of the United States. Forgive me for stating the obvious or if I seem overly dramatic; this blog entry is really for my children.
President Obama is our first African American president. He has been compared to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr…. and Aretha Franklin sang at his inauguration. He delivered a speech that may not be remembered as one overflowing with catchy phrases, but he genuinely seemed to address the nation and the world with a message of love, peace, and cooperation. He expressed the enormity of the tasks that lay ahead for him as president, especially in the midst of a global economic recession.
I have hope that Obama really will reach across party lines to effect policy change that will more likely reflect the needs and wishes of more Americans. I have hope that our foreign relations will vastly improve and that we will bring soldiers home. More than anything, though, I hope that more Americans will pay attention.
I fully appreciate the commission of the poem Praise song for the day, written and recited by Elizabeth Alexander. I was also moved by Jon Williams’ arrangement of Air and Simple Gifts as performed by cellist Yo Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, Gabriela Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill.
Perhaps the best Inauguration story is the one I saw on the news this morning about Obama’s evening visit to the Lincoln Memorial with his family.
Whatever your views personal political views, I hope you too have hope for the future.