Inauguration ’09: An Inauguration Both Historic and Healing

By January 20, 2009Inauguration '09

The D.C. Examiner was the only paper with today’s issue in the newspaper boxes downtown*, so we acknowledge its efforts by posting its editorial of the day, which, even better, captures our sentiments about today’s historical events exactly.

An inauguration both historic and healing

By Examiner Editorial
– 1/20/09
Long after the speeches for the occasion have been given, the solemn oaths of office administered, and the immense crowds have cheered our new president all along the parade route from Capitol Hill to the White House grounds, today will be remembered as among the most important in American history. The departure of one chief executive and the welcoming of another is always a significant event.

Yet the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama as America’s 44th president elevates the moment of 2009 even beyond its usual quadrennial majesty. An amazing and inspiring man in his own right, he is our first African-American chief executive and thus a special bearer of our national hopes and dreams. His swearing-in ought to therefore mark a healing of wounds borne far too long, even from before the founding. The revolutionary generation of Washington, Jefferson and Adams gave us the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. With them came a vision of liberty, equality and opportunity that has since made our nation in so many ways a genuine approximation of the city on a hill dreamed of by our Puritan ancestors. But the founding also bequeathed to us the shame of slavery, and the scar of inequality that remained after its abolishment in 1865. We have struggled mightily in the century since, and never more markedly than in the most recent decades of our existence, to shed the vestiges of inequality and thus bind up our still painful wounds.

And what a very long road we have traveled to come to this day when every American can finally say that it could be any one from among us taking the oath of office. Americans of every political stripe – and people from every corner of the world – can fairly rejoice in seeing a black man swear to “faithfully execute the office of President of the United States” and promise to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” – after winning a democratic contest in which he was judged only by the content of his character, not the color of his skin. So much blood was spilled, so many tears shed, and so many prayers sent heavenward along the way to bring us to this day. It hardly seems possible to conceive that we have come to so remarkable a moment without the blessing of that “providence of God” that Lincoln invoked in his second inaugural and throughout his momentous presidency.

May the same providence now guide and strengthen President Obama to the tasks we the people lay before him, and may God bless these United States of America.

An exciting, monumental day.

*Not a veiled criticism of the Post or Times, by the way. Newspapers sold in the newsboxes would be quickly emptied out for souvenirs — 75 cents could get one a dozen papers for resale — so the issues are being sold in stores only.

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