Jan. 20 was just another day for me when it started. Yes, it was inauguration day for President Obama, but for me, just another day in Enumclaw far far away from the festivities. The only thought I had was that $160 million dollars sure seemed like a lot for the pomp and circumstance that was about to occur.
However, as the day progressed I was amazed at how many of my staff members were watching or listening from their computers. As I visited businesses in town everyone had a TV, radio or their computer tuned to the inauguration. There was a sense of excitement, hope, pride and passion exuding from nearly everyone I talked with throughout the day.
At lunch, I went home and tuned in and found myself feeling what nearly 2 million others were feeling who were in D.C. attending the event. I honestly could not believe that many people had made the journey to watch the event. The television station I was watching was doing profiles on several of the people who were making the trip to Washington, D.C., for this historic occasion. From the 10-year-old boy from Oklahoma who now believes he can be president someday and who went to D.C. by himself to be witness to history, to the 90-year-old woman from Virginia who was the first black girl allowed in her town’s high school – she rode the bus for 10 hours to participate.
All the stories, all the people were incredible, heartwarming and passionate.
At work that afternoon the office was abuzz about the ceremony. President Obama’s speech provided everyone hope and this good feeling that they had been a part of something very special. Many of the people I spoke with said they did not vote for Obama, but were excited at what the country had done and the positive steps the country was making.
From the people who were in D.C. to the people I talked to during the day in town, to those interviewed all over the world – yes, the world, not just in the United States – the excitement, the passion, the patriotism, was as impressive as anything I have ever witnessed. The people of the United States needed a lift, a pep talk, a vision of hope. They got that and a lot more that day.
It is hard to put a price on hope, but by the end of the evening I was convinced this was good for America and Americans at any price.