Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama's Inauguration as 44th President - Rising Hope

I had the privelege of watching the opening moments of Obama's inauguration on a big screen yesteday, along with forty other class participants. I was in a group learning about effective leadership, as it turns out. I worked hard not to break in to tears. What moved me was the crowds of people, filled with hope. I haven't been so moved since the Berlin wall fell, and when aparteid was abolished. Then, too, it was as if a great cloud had lifted from mankind. Which is ironic, considering that Obama spoke of "gathering clouds" as his own administration takes over.

Obama's speech was inspiring, and I'll talk briefly about that later. But I was moved well before that, by the sight of the crowds and this piece of music by John Williams called "Air and Simple Gifts" performed by Yo-Yo Ma , Itzhak Perlman , Anthony McGill and Gabriela Montero . My heart swelled as I heard it, and this is what I wrote:

Four talents, at their peak
in an original composition
for the delight of the
president elect; his
pleasure first, and
then for all.

I am near tears,

I imagined the days of
practice leading up to the
event. Four great talents
collaborating for a moment
of beauty.

I am near tears, as when the Berlin wall fell.

A world of people gathering to celebrate good, a barrier demolished, oppression is torn down.

Our blue sky smiles.

It was most deliberate, don't you think, to bring together a French-born Chinese American, an Isreali American, a Venezuelan born pianist, and the only African-American musician to hold a principal position in a major orchestra? The delicacy by which they played this piece was a delight to the ear.

Here it is again if you would like to hear it:

I then took some notes from Obama's speech. He spoke of the need to emulate our forefathers, who "worked their hands raw" to build the nation. It will take that sort of effort to "gather for a common purpose" to rebuild the country. For government, we are to "reform [our] bad habits, do our business in the light of day". He spoke to nations around the world, "Your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy", and "We can no longer afford to ignore the suffering outside our borders."

His international scope gives me hope that America will broaden it's view beyond itself. Yes, there's much to be hopeful for.

Obama's inspiring speech is a gift to the crowds, to the world. All those hearts gathered, bursting with hope. May we ride that wave of good feeling and raise this world to a better place.