The Obama Express: From Philadelphia to Washington D.C., an historic journey, a duplication of part of a journey made by Abraham Lincoln to his own inauguration in 1861. Today our President-elect Barack Obama made that symbolic journey to Washington D.C. for his Tuesday inauguration, accompanied by his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters. They picked up Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, and family in Wilmington, Delaware.
Here is a bit of Obama's speech at a stop in Baltimore:
"And yet while our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not. What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that those first patriots displayed. What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives - from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry - an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels."
"That is the reason I launched my campaign for the presidency nearly two years ago. I did so in the belief that the most fundamental American ideal, that a better life is in store for all those willing to work for it, was slipping out of reach. That Washington was serving the interests of the few, not the many. And that our politics had grown too small for the scale of the challenges we faced. But I also believed something else. I believed that our future is our choice, and that if we could just recognize ourselves in one another and bring everyone together - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, north, south, east and west, black, white, Latino, Asian, and Native American, gay and straight, disabled and not - then not only would we restore hope and opportunity in places that yearned for both, but maybe, just maybe, we might perfect our union in the process."
"This is what I believed, but you made this belief real. You proved once more that people who love this country can change it. And as I prepare to leave for Washington on a trip that you made possible, know that I will not be traveling alone. I will be taking with me some of the men and women I met along the way, Americans from every corner of this country, whose hopes and heartaches were the core of our cause; whose dreams and struggles have become my own. Theirs are the voices I will carry with me every day in the White House. Theirs are the stories I will be thinking of when we deliver the changes you elected me to make. "
I surprisingly found myself with tears in listening to his words today. So hopeful, so inspirational, so energizing. I can't help but associate Obama with Lincoln. Even did so before the Lincoln theme was created for the Inauguration. This is history being made. And it is exciting.
I better keep the Kleenex handy on Tuesday, because that is the way this is hitting me, deeply.
Photo by Richard Perry, New York Times