What is there to say, on this day of days? What can I add to the discussion? What has been left unsaid?
On Election Day, for the first time in years, I started to feel patriotism swelling in my veins. Today, it's complete. Today feels like America waking up from a deep slumber.
I saw Aretha singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and remembered what Martin Luther King said back in 1963 (six years before my birth):
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
That was what I remembereda while I heard Aretha singing, and I started getting tears in my eyes. Because it felt like today, just a little bit of his dream was realized. Not all of it. There's so much work that has yet to be done, so much wrong yet to be reversed, so much history that can't be erased.
But today, I sat with my wife and my son and watched Barack Obama take the oath of office, and it felt like America was suddenly a little bit of a better place.
Just like Martin said, we elected Obama because of the content of his character, not the color of his skin. Barack Obama was the best man for the job and he is exactly the man we need at this moment in our history.
Did you see that crowd? So many people of color. So many young people. People from all over the country, all making the pilgrimage to see this man become their president. So many people who probably didn't think of themselves as political at this time last year. Obama has rejuvenated the spirit of this country. This is very nearly a revolutionary experience. Overnight, the mood of our country has changed from despondency to optimism. In one day, we have become a hopeful nation, a proud nation, a nation of leaders, a nation prepared to lead.
Are you ready? As one of my friends said, we'd all better start taking our vitamins. If we're really going to take back our country, we're all going to have to start working at it tomorrow.
So get some sleep, because tomorrow, the hard work begins. Tomorrow, we're going to wake up, and Barack Obama is wake up for the first day as America's president, and we're all going to realize just how much work it's going to take to get our ship back on course.
Sleep well, friends.