This post could have been titled Tears of Joy! I find myself getting weepy as I watch the ceremony and celebration that marks this most American of traditions, the peaceful transition of power.
The historic significance of the election, and today, the inauguration, of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America cannot be overstated. It truly marks a new day in America, and once again our nation is looking forward!
Personally, my joy today is boundless. My prayers for our country have been answered and hope for the future has returned. We do face tough times ahead, but as Americans we have a shared history of pulling together. I believe we will continue our journey to forge a nation that is admired and respected around the world.
Here are a few words from our new president:
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.