Inauguration 2009 – Obama inauguration touches even those at the sidelines


By Raymond D. DeLeon

When I received my confirmation email from Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s office that I was being granted the coveted tickets I requested to President Barack Obama’s Inauguration, I was overwhelmed.

Not only because Jan. 20, 2009, was my birthday but also because I would be spending it in Washingt

on D.C., to witness the beginning of a historic chapter in the story of our great nation. My entire life I have been inspired by the words of individuals who lived before my time: President John F. Kennedy, Sen. Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These individuals, along with countless men and women, fought for equality for all Americans. Now I was going to stand witness to an event that was direct result of their sacrifices, and see a man who has inspired a whole new generation, be sworn in as President of the United States.

When I arrived in D.C. the Sunday before the Inauguration, you could sense the change in air. The entire city was ready to greet the new President with buildings, subways and homes that were adorned with signs welcoming his message of Hope and Change. When Tuesday finally arrived, the streets of the capital were swamped. We waited in line in the bitter air so cold you could barley move your arms. But unlike the crowded department stores where people begin to get frustrated, everyone was in complete harmony. There was no pushing, no fighting, just excitement for what we were about to witness. Not only were there individuals from all across the country, there were delegations from South Africa, England and South America standing side by side with me. As time neared for the inauguration to start and the sounds of the choir echoed in the background many of us began getting concerned when our line had barely moved at all. Then our hopes were dashed when many people who were far more ahead of us in line began coming back saying the gates were closing. Still I waited in hope that by some chance security would speed and I would get in. Then when the words “Barack Obama” were announced as he walked out on stage I knew it was going to be impossible.

So I drifted off to the side where people who had driven just as far as I had, were standing cheering with every word they could make out in the distance from the speakers of the ceremony. There were people climbing trees and children were wearing homemade Obama 44 scarves. It was then that I realized that it was more than being inside the Inauguration it was about being able to say I was there and to have the experience of sharing this moment with my fellow countrymen in person. As the Inauguration ended we sang together in unison our National Anthem not as a political party, or an ethnic race but as a people. It is a day I will never forget.

God Bless America!


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