1.24.2009

Inspiring Inaugural

I did not get a chance to watch any of the inaugural proceedings live or on TV, but did read President Obama's inaugural speech the next day. One of his best, in my opinion; and to be expected, since it played to all of his strengths. What I liked:

* Reminders of America's unique role in the world, and of the hardships and sacrifices our predecessors endured to fulfill that role.

* Perspective to see today's challenges as a "for such a time as this" moment for America and Americans to shine.

* Affirmation of diversity as America's greatest strength, without sugar-coating the strife that comes with it.

* A promise to welcome those who join us in the journey toward freedom and to end those who do not.

The quote at the end by George Washington was the one that gave me the chills upon the chills. For it places us in the company of those who knew they were making history, and invites us to join in shedding temporal trivialities and selfish pursuits for timeless values and eternal glory. Who we are when everything is falling apart is who we really are - and I savor the opportunity to see what today's Americans are truly made of.

The repair of America's image, of an unsustainable fiscal system, of ideological conflicts worldwide, and of a tattered global economy are messier than soaring words and inspiring promises. But to do the yeoman's work, in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, requires inspired work - inspired by a greatness greater than ourselves and our present day and its ills, reaching back to a glorious past and looking forward to a day when we can look our grandkids in the eye and say we did right by them. Consider me among a people that was inspired on Inauguration Day.

"America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations." - Barack Obama, 1/20/09
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