An Historic Day

What a day! The excitement wears off slowly, leaving us numb.

What do you remember? Which are your special moments?

My favorites are Aretha Franklin, whom I have always loved, sending her inspired voice across the enormous crowd, across the country.

Muhammed Ali, barely able to walk or speak. His wife had to wipe his lips. There was a time when reporters would have been gathered around him ten deep, stretching out their microphones for a scrap of verse or an outrageous remark. No more. But he’s one of those who made this day happen. Just his presence is enough.

John Lewis, veteran of the Civil Rights struggle. Did his mind drift back to the days when he was clubbed to the ground, attacked by dogs, tossed unconscious into a filthy jail cell. How many times in his life did he wonder if he would live to see the morning? Did he ever envision living to see this day?

John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He had one simple oath to administer; barely a paragraph. And he flubbed it.

Barack Obama’s inaugural address. Simple, well-written, well-delivered, and to the point. I wonder if he wrote it himself. Abraham Lincoln wrote all his own speeches, including the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address, whose words are on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial. It’s too early to tell if President Obama’s words today will go down in history as one of America’s speeches. Give it time. Abraham Lincoln didn’t think his words at Gettysburg were worth remembering.

The crowds. I’ve been to Washington. I know that area. It’s immense. To think that every square foot was filled with people! It looked as if the whole country was there. In a sense, it was.

Thomas Friedman, writing about the Middle East, notes that the real story begins the day after the big day. In that sense, today was a time out, a chance to catch our breath before tackling the real challenges. The future begins tomorrow.

I’m ready. Hope you are, too. Fasten your seatbelts. America’s taking off.

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