20 January 2009

Pause and think

It's Inauguration Day in Washington DC, and not just any Inauguration Day. This is a momentous occasion, and for the United States it is a great leap forward. Welcome to the 21st century.

As a Southerner, I know what I am talking about. I was young, but I remember what the South was like in the 1950s and 1960s — horrible racial segregation, which short-changed a large segment of the American population. And it wasn't just in the South — it was just more obvious there. It was the same all over the country.

Just think how many talented, intelligent individuals never had a chance to get a good education, to succeed in life, to contribute to bettering our society, because of the bone-headed attitudes of the people who held economic and political power for so long. That era is now officially over.

So today I'll just listen and watch from afar. I wish I were there with friends Evelyn and Lewis, out in the freezing cold on the National Mall in Washington. I am there through them and all the others.

No matter whether President Obama solves or doesn't solve all the problems that have been handed to him, nothing can ever diminish his accomplishment and the decisive step into the future that this Inauguration represents. We can all be proud... yes we can.


  1. Amen!
    (I'll be watching from the waiting room of jury duty... hope I don't get called in for a trial before I get to see the oath of office!)

  2. Just like Judy says: Amen!

  3. Right on, Ken! My nephew Nick (age 14) is there, somewhere on the Mall, with other kids from a Junior Leadership group. How cool! I am wearing my "Game On 1-20-09" t-shirt and feeling the joy.

  4. Obama is now president. What a sweet feeling!

  5. And what a great speech!

  6. Yes, chm, it is a proud moment to have such an intelligent and articulate president. Now I hope we can get behind him and do our part to make the changes that are so desperately needed in the US.

    To quote Gerald Ford, "...our long national nightmare is over."

  7. What a scene--to see history being made. It is a great day and a new beginning. The country is with President Obama.

  8. Ginny, yes, our long nightmare is over. Finally. Ouf! as we say in French.

    Gabby and CHM, doesn't it almost make you want to be back in Washington, working at USIA?

  9. Are you kidding?

  10. This anonymous was chm.
    I said: Are you kidding?
    I miss my former colleagues but enjoy retirement.

  11. Hello again from New Bern, where we are truly having blizzard conditions today. There is a large inaugural ball planned in New Bern, North Carolina this evening. Sadly the snow will keep me away, but I'll be celebrating with other friends/good Democrats in my neighborhood. Ken, you may be surprised to learn that the national Obama campaign sent a paid organizer to N.B. in July, and that we increased the Democratic vote here by more than 2000 people -- 2000 toward that margin of 14,000 by which Barack Obama carried North Carolina! Change happens! Yes we can!!

  12. Fantastic, Gigi. Good for New Bern and for Obama and the Democrats. It's been a big day, even here in Saint-Aignan. We've been following it all on CNN International.

    I know about the snow there because I was just chatting with my sister in Newport. It's snowing there too, and in Morehead and in eastern Carteret Co., she said. Hope it's pretty and not too much trouble.

  13. This was, and still is, an amazing day - I am emotionally drained.

    Only two inches of snow in New Bern, but that brings everything to a halt.

    Back to the TV.


  14. I watched every minute of the concert, ceremony, and parade. Never done that before. What a day!

  15. Like, Chrissoup, I haven't remembered an inauguration ever when I was so glued to the tv... and after that the radio and internet from work. Then after work, tv is on again.

    Just the thought of what is and what has happened brings tears to my eyes.

    I feel like it's New Year's Day with much hope for the coming years!

    Best to all!

  16. The first full day of the new Obama administration -- what a great thing to be able to write. I think most Americans can't even now fully grasp the enormity of what the election has brought.

    It will not be easy turning the country around, but someone has to start the process, to begin repairing the damage of the past 8 years.

    I wish President Obama well in his efforts. Please God that he be up to the challenges.

  17. With Obama as President and Hillary as SecState, I'm quite sure a more active and effective USIA or bureau of public diplomacy will be in action. Yes, for Mr. Obama, I'd pick up my pencil and go back to writing and editing stories once again.

  18. Gabby, I think I would go back too if it were a possibility. But maybe not if it meant leaving France...

  19. Ginny, we saw lots of school groups coming and going to DC. A group of 13 and 14 year olds from Yuma, Arizona were on our plane. It was so much fun to watch their antics. They were listening to music and dancing in their seats. Coming home I imagine they will all be sleeping in thier seats and dreaming about their experience.

    It was wonderful being a part of a day when spirits were soaring.

    Gigi, your work made it happen! Obama really knew how to organize his campaign and he is proof that the pen is still mightier than the sword.

    We've got our country back, ouf!


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