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So, it’s inauguration day. After all the concerts and the speeches, there’s nothing more standing in the way: our new president is Barack Obama.

Yesterday I headed down to the National Mall in D.C. I wanted to feel the energy in anticipation of today’s swearing-in. And let me tell you: the collective excitement was palpable.

The only way I can describe it: America was in a good mood. Yesterday, trudging around in the dark and frigid cold, there was nothing but smiles. Anyone could talk to anyone. Held together by a common joy, a common hope, there were no enemies. Vendors who would normally be shrewd were generous and friendly. People struck up conversations with ­absolute strangers of any age, race, and religion. I could see, at least in this moment, that what Obama had said was true: we are not a country of red and blue, black and white, gay and straight, young and old. We are simply a country. And a great one.

People who have not felt pride and patriotism for a long time are rejoicing. We are reminded how lucky we are, how great an establishment we represent. We are reminded of our ideals: liberty, fairness, truth. Although we don’t ­always do them justice, they are, above all, what we aim for. I think we had somewhat forgotten this, had let these great roots of America be brushed aside and overshadowed by shame and worry.

Obama was right about something else, though: rebuilding our country will not be easy. It will not be possible if the majority of Americans emotionally check out after a month or two of hardships. We have as much of a duty to this administration as our president has to us – we must promise to persevere, promise to work hard, and promise above all not to lose the hope that we have spent almost two years rallying. It will take effort, and we all need to contribute if we want the promises of this administration to come true.

I feel that we are now in a position to revolutionize the establishment. We need change, and we finally have the unity and enthusiasm necessary to create that change. We are in the ideal position to right wrongs. And standing there, among countless strangers on the National Mall, I felt that it was ­possible. And sitting here, watching the coverage of the inauguration, I feel that it is inevitable.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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HOPEMVP said...
Apr. 29, 2009 at 1:56 pm:
I really didn't look foward this day. I really had some strongly conserns with his middle name.
 
Katsview This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm :
I totally agree. People who judge others on their names really have too much time on their hands; what's next? Oh wait, I guess since we've stooped that low, I guess we've done it all. Anyway, good job rockandrollhs.
 
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