America The Beautiful
Monday, January 19, 2009
Last night, while many Americans watched the NFL finals in preparation for Super Bowl XLIII, historians of American History were editing text books for future generations. History was being made throughout the world on this momentous evening as well.
And I am not talking about football games. Last night, hundreds of thousands of people braved freezing temperatures to join Barack Obama and his family at the Lincoln Memorial for one of the most inspirational moments US history. Well, at least for the past 40 years. And the timing is not lost, as it was 46 years ago that Dr. Martin Luther King stood on the exact same steps, with President Lincoln overlooking the crowds, and delivered a speech that would change history. Last night, the dream began to come to pass and Tuesday it will be written in history. Only this time, the fists that were raised were in unity, not anger.
The star power during the "We Are One" concert was unbelievable, the sense of patriotism inspirational. The show — which was broadcast live from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. — set the tone for Barack Obama's upcoming inauguration. Each time a celebrity appeared to reprise Obama's trademark line about abolishing divisions for a united states of America, the crowd cheered. The sense of barriers falling was infectious. If you missed Woodstock the first time around, here was your make up session.
Interspersed with prolific musical performances were actors such as Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Forrest Whitaker, Jack Black and Steve Carrell and star golfer Tiger Woods, all taking turns giving brief speeches, all patriotic and calling for a new America while invoking former presidents such as John F. Kennedy. A sampling, although not too sure how long YouTube will keep these videos posted. And be forewarned, get your hankies!
America The Beautiful
Barack Obama's Speech
President elect Obama took the stage at the end of the festivities to send a message to the crowds. Noting the monuments all around him, Obama said what gives him hope "is what I see when I look out across this mall. For in these monuments are chiseled those unlikely stories that affirm our unyielding faith -- a faith that anything is possible in America.
"You proved once more that people who love this country can change it. And as I prepare to assume the presidency, yours are the voices I will take with me every day I walk into that Oval Office -- the voices of men and women who have different stories but hold common hopes; who ask only for what was promised us as Americans -- that we might make of our lives what we will and see our children climb higher than we did," he said.
Dosen't it make you wonder if this was anything Dr. King could have even imagined when delivering his "I Have a Dream" speech of 1963. Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike have to agree on this one thing- the nation is experiencing a unity unmatched in history and a platform for change has been erected. We can only hope this inspiration moves us forward together as a nation and it is not lost in the cynical natures of the past. I, for one, have hope.