Powerful Words

January 20, 2009
By Sarah Eberhardt, Sammamish, WA

I'd been waiting since November 4th for this day to roll around. Not even kidding. Over the past week, I'd been walking up to my friends and family and shouting "Seven days left!" or "Two days left!". I was usually met with confused looks, but then they'd realize that I was counting down the days until the Inauguration of Barack Obama.

What powerful words.

For all my excitement, though, I still fought with myself whether or not I should stay home on the 20th. Three minutes before I was supposed to leave to catch my bus, Mom came up to me.

"Do you want to stay home?"

I was torn. On the one hand, I would witness history in the making. At 9 o'clock this morning, I could see the end of the hostage situation that had been the last eight years of my life. But, on the other hand, I had a project to work on in first period, and if I missed P.E. again, I'd have to make it up.

So I shook my head. "No. I've gotta go to school."

When a friend who was just as into this election as I was didn't catch the bus, I realized I'd made the wrong choice. History was so much more important than art class. I beat myself up about it all the way to school, since I figured that they wouldn't let us watch Obama's speech in P.E.

Imagine my surprise when ten minutes into P.E. they told us that if we wanted to go watch the broadcast, we could leave. Man, I booked it off of the volleyball court so fast that the dust on the floor flew up behind me. The only place that there's a t.v. in the gym is in the weight room, which is freezing cold this time of year, but I didn't pay much attention to the sudden drop in temperature. All I cared about was getting a good seat.

I'd come in at a good time. A piece of music was being played. Personally, I'd thought it was beautiful, but the other kids in the room had better things to talk about, apparently. If it hadn't have been for the seventh grade P.E. teacher in there, I'm sure those kids would have talked straight through the Inauguration. But she managed to get them to quiet down just in time for us to witness Obama coming out to meet the Chief Justice.

All I could think of while watching Barack Obama become the 44th President of the United States was "Thank God".

At the end of the swearing in, I couldn't help but start to clap. I knew that it didn't really make much of a difference, what with me living on the opposite side of the United States, but it seemed like the right thing to do. Others joined in.

Then came the speech. The one that I'd been waiting all morning to hear.

Now, I'd heard Obama speak before. On the news, when he'd accepted the Democratic nomination. I'd even been lucky enough to see him in person when he came to Washington forever and a day ago. But none of those speeches seemed to compare to this one. While he didn't use big words to try and make himself sound smart, the small words he used hit me right in the heart. I didn't cry, but I felt like I wanted to. I could have sat there all day and listened to him talk.

The spell was broken when I noticed that the weight room was pretty much empty. But Obama wasn't done speaking. So I did the only logical thing I could.

I booked it again.

I thought that I was doing pretty well. I made it to my next class in time to see through the window that he was still speaking. The only problem was that my teacher hadn't let her previous class out yet.

When she finally did, I was the first one in my seat. I tuned into the speech just as Obama wrapped up his 25 minute presentation.

I wasn't too happy about that.

But from what I did hear, I can tell you that I have faith in our 44th president. He's got the right idea, and I trust him. His words instilled a confidence in me about America that I hadn't felt since I started to understand politics. Those words were strong enough that I said the Pledge of Allegiance all the way through, a thing that I'd given up on in 8th grade.

Is Obama the right choice for our nation? In our time of need, is he going to help our economy and bring our troops home and be the father to our child of a nation that needs a hug?

Yes. Because he has such powerful words.

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