Friday, January 23, 2009
On January 20, 2009 I was fortunate enough to attend the Inauguration Ceremonies in Washington D.C. for our 44th and first African American President. I have never been to an Inauguration, nor did I think I ever would, but when the opportunity presented itself, there was no way I could turn it down, much like the thousands of people that showed up. In my lifetime, I have experienced events that shake you to your core, along with events that make life worth living. I have been lucky enough to touch people’s lives and I have been lucky enough to meet celebrities, I have even had a brief phone conversation with President Clinton and received a hand written letter, but I have never been speechless or completely in awe of someone like I was, when I was at the Parade trying to catch glimpses of Barrack Obama taking his first steps as the 44th President.
To say that it was emotionally overwhelming would be an understatement. It was an amazing event to be a part of and to witness. Seeing the hundreds of thousands and even millions of people gather and unite to witness an American History first, was a spectacular, breathtaking and an absolutely awe striking sight. Never has a President or a single Washington event received such attention.
There have been past events that will always be remembered as cornerstone speeches and gatherings, such as Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech, or JFK’s Inaugural speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.” Those speeches and history making events were mere paving stones and building blocks towards this momentous and culture-healing event.
People from every corner of the U.S. turned out in force. There were people who spent days driving, people who spent all of the money they had. People from every Ethnicity, Religion, and Sexual Orientation showed up in force, not only to be apart of history but to make the statement in one collective and powerful voice, that shouted “America is Changing!” America is ready to put differences aside and work together to rebuild and reaffirm our status as the single greatest and most powerful country in the world; Americans are ready to show our power, not with war but with building, by uniting rather than dividing. The American people are tired and weary of war. What good is it being the most powerful, if you only look to abuse that power and alienate this country from the rest of the world?
This was an event where being a part of it, you could almost feel and see the culture of America changing right before your eyes. It was a moment that shattered barriers and will change the U.S. forever. People all over the world witnessed this event, and immediately felt optimistic of the direction that America is headed. Never in my life have I been more proud to be an American and to be in the middle of it was incredible, every direction I looked, I could see tears of joy, people of all races hugging and cheering together, it was a sight and feeling that would give you chills and goose bumps. It was a moment of a nation healing, but it’s not over yet, there is still a long ways to go before our mistakes of the past can be corrected. I think the people of this country and around the world are ready to move past the turbulent last eight years and come together to fix and grow not as individual races but as one collective Human Race, with equality for all of its inhabitants.
To President Obama, and the legislation, I have faith that the “Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act”, will be passed this year to be an all-inclusive Bill that will protect all of America’s citizens. When it does, I look forward to meeting the people who made it possible and to those who dedicate their lives to serve and improve the lives of the American People.
So, in closing, to anyone out there who may be reading this, what I really have to say, is that the America of Old, is no longer. America is headed into a new and exciting direction that will break down racial, religious, gender and sexual orientation barriers to create a new “UNITED” States of America that includes and protects everyone of its citizens.