Tuesday, January 20, 2009

That was One Hell of a Speech

I've watched Barack Obama's inaugural address twice today and listened to it on the radio once and I'm still digging it. It is a hell of a speech and well worth reading as well.

This is the part that keeps sticking in my mind:

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.

We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

I watched the speech as it happened on a television in a Dover restaurant this noon. I was with several work friends and we were all thrilled. I will always remember the tracks of tears down cheeks when I remember this day.

On my drive home this evening, NPR played the whole speech again. I listened as I drove south through the Delaware countryside.

Karen and I watched the whole ceremony this evening on Tivo. I had set it to record C-Span from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; we were able to scroll ahead through the introductions of varied VIPs and stop for the cute things, like the Obama girls. We both wanted to hear the speech again and to hear the performance by Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill.

We also wanted to hear the Rev. Joseph Lowery's inauguration benediction. We loved this part:
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.
This has been a good day.


Anonymous said...

Do the "yellow" really need to "mellow" and why? Didn't "white" do what is right, by voting for Obama?

This guy is like a mellow Rev. Wright

John Mahaffie said...

Your nephew Charlie remembered the passage about Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus when we talked about the speech last night. He gets it, at 10 years old.

Mike Mahaffie said...

Charlie is a smart kid. I see a lot going on behind those blond bangs. I liked that part too... especially when non-believers were included. In truth, there were numerous moments in there for me.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Lowrey's benediction did nothing for me but remind me just how far we have come as a country since this type of language was commonly used. It was an unfortunate throwback, in my opinion.

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