Reflections on the Inauguration

The News Service’s own (and recent Emmy winner!) Princine Lewis traveled to last week’s inauguration of President Barack Obama. She’s graciously agreed to share her personal thoughts and experiences with us:

I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that America has elected its first black president – even though I was one of the tiny specks you saw waving my American flag excitedly on the National Mall on Inauguration Day.

It has taken me some time to write this post because I have been thinking – “How can I capture the emotion of such an incredible experience?” Being on the mall that day is something I will remember and treasure for the rest of my life.

President Barack Obama – I just get a kick out of typing and saying this – has generated a lot of excitement among those thirsty for change and hope. But his election is especially poignant for me as the child of a father who fought in segregated troops in World War II and parents who attended segregated schools.

Words cannot describe the emotion and feelings of excitement and goodwill in Washington during the Inauguration. You almost forgot about the cold temperatures – almost. But it was worth braving the cold to join the diverse sea of humanity – from the Canadians waving their flags to the Jamaican drum band playing in celebration on the National Mall – to witness this unforgettable moment in our shared history.

I think sometimes we take for granted what it means to be an American – but I was bursting with pride as I joined more than a million people singing “America The Beautiful” and the “The Star Spangled Banner” – and how could you not be moved by Aretha Franklin singing “Let Freedom Ring?”

It gives me hope that Obama was able to connect with a wide variety of people. And as I continue to be struck and thrilled by those images depicting all of America’s presidents and the contrast of No. 44, I hope Obama’s election isn’t a brief anomaly but a sign that Americans can finally put aside their biases and elect whom they feel is the best leader for our country.

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