During my senior year of high school in 2006, my US Citizenship teacher, Mr. Belcher, showed the class a taping of an Oprah show. On this particular show, she spoke to Barack Obama, who was currently the senator of Illinois. At this time, he had no intention of running for president. I turned to my classmate and said, “I hope he runs, because I would totally vote for him.” On November 4th, 2008, I did just that. Today, I witnessed his inauguration as the President of the United States of America.
Today was a whirlwind. January 20th, 2009 is a day that will go down in the history books for generations to come. The first African American president was inaugurated into office in the United States, and I was there to witness history in the making. The 4 AM wakeup call didn’t rustle my feathers. The anticipation of the event was enough to keep me from a deep sleep.
The most recent estimation I’ve seen is roughly 2 million people in attendance. When you hear the number, it seems like a lot, but it is a completely different situation when you are there in the middle of it all. In fact, it was quite amazing to see. This inauguration brought the country together in a way that I have never seen. As five other students and I walked through the crowd, we heard the stories of people from all over the nation. Many spoke about how Obama represents hope, change and forward movement. There were no racial barriers in the crowd, just 2 million united Americans, cheering for a man that can hopefully change this country for the better.
I feel blessed to have been able to attend Barack Obama’s inauguration this morning. I think the whole country is ready for a new leader, one equipped with plans to help pull the United States to its feet once again. With tiny American flags waving violently in the wind, 2 million people shouted “O-ba-ma” at the top of their lungs to ring in the new president – a new era in American history.