MY WALK WITH PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
If someone would have told me that I would have been granted the opportunity of attending the Inauguration of President Barack Obama, I would have thought that they were completely insane. My walk with President Barack Obama, then Senator Barack Obama was an extended and complicated emotional ride. I remember when I first heard President Barack Obama speak; I was captured by his humble, charismatic, and mature demeanor. I felt a sense of relief that a breath of fresh perspectives and ideas were being introduced to the world.
The day I stood in line for three hours to vote, for the first time, was extremely tiresome and frustrating. Nevertheless, I remained in line, because I truly felt that it was time that I voiced my opinion, especially while “change” was in the making. The night of the presidential electoral vote results, I was overwhelmed with genuine happiness.
I distinctly remember gawking at my mom and gasping for breath, while I unbelievably watched her perform the “Barack Obama Dance,” as she so hilariously coined it. The dance was completely amusing and ridiculous. I would never be caught, in public, performing this dance! It is absolutely amazing of how the human body reacts when experiencing sheer joy and happiness. Needless to say, that night and perhaps a couple nights after, I performed this dance religiously for my mother and others. This momentous event in American history, had receptively become a family affair, showered with hope, pride, and excitement!
With the aforementioned in mind, imagine my response when I was informed that I would be going to Washington, D.C. to attend the Inauguration of President Barack Obama! I was ecstatic. My trip to D.C. was made possible by way of a charter bus with family and newly found friends. In retrospect, I am glad that I chose to endure the event this way, because the experience was so much richer in significance.
As I perused the countenances of the passengers aboard the charter, one characteristic was apparent and parallel among them all, myself included, unimaginably and inexplicable happiness. The celebration did not cease to exist among a group of people from many, if not, all races. Women and men, children and teenagers, husbands and wives, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters alike, were all invested in President Barack Obama’s success and future endeavors.
Strangely, but it appeared as if this charter bus was a citizen’s paradise, an unthinkable Utopia. All of the individuals seemed completely comfortable with each other, positive, productive, receptive, helpful, understanding, appreciative, entertaining, and a symbol of what the world, as a whole, could become. We were all interested in making the world a better place; moreover, we were overjoyed to have a president that believed, spoke, and practiced the same. The bus ride was surprisingly jubilant.
The day of the actual event, we arrived there at 4:30 a.m. There were already crowds of people stampeding toward the National Mall, psyched for the event. The sky was pitching dark and the stars were dazzling. The moon took the spotlight, simply because it was the provider of light. The wind screamed harshly as it slapped our faces with earthly ice cycles. Our clothes developed a mind of its own, as it clung to our bodies as if we were a life support system. Our shoes warded off any inkling of cold breeze by utilizing every weapon formed in the image of shoe material, initially provided by its wearer. The presence of hand and foot warmers were our only refuge from the unbearably freezing weather. Among the crowds of people, echoes’ of women voices were questioning the whereabouts of loved ones, yelling out directions, and inquiring about the comfort of others. I thought to myself, “Women are always on duty!”
The walk to the National Mall was long and hard, but we made it! Strangely, everyone was helping each other to reach the final destination. For the most part, everyone was exceptionally considerate and helpful to each other. When we reached the grounds, everyone looked around in disbelief that we had actually made it. Instantly, someone shouted, “Change has arrived,” and everyone started cheering and dancing for joy. It was amazing!
Every one of all races was celebrating together. People- complete strangers- were hugging each other, crying, shaking hands, and conversing with each other. This experience in itself was life altering. In the mist of this loving occurrence, it suddenly set in my mind and my heart that I was actually at the Inaugural Ceremony for President Barack Obama! It felt like an out of body experience!
As I stared out into the crowds of people, my attention was captured by a young mother desperately trying to calm and shield her child from the cold. As the lady knelt down to remove clothing from herself to place on the child, I noticed other women walking over with blankets in their hands placing them on the child. This was a heart stopping sight! Within seconds, an announcement was made notifying everyone that the magnifying moment was about to begin and everyone started clapping.
As the event took place, everyone was fixated on the speeches. Throughout the ceremony, you could hear individuals crying to themselves, screaming out in agreement, and yelling with excitement. Hope was in the eyes of everyone! When the ceremony ended, some individuals lingered around to party a little more, others walked around, and many rushed to the portable restrooms.
As you walked out toward the streets, the streets were filled with people selling memorabilia and souvenirs. People quickly rushed to purchase items, snap pictures, and go to the parade site. What was extremely exciting and baffling was that many people walked expedishly to the White House to sneak pictures. Many people took pictures outside of the gates of the White House, while others witnessed President Barack and Michelle Obama’s walk on Pennsylvania Avenue. Although the weather was unthinkably cold and the activity chaotic, everyone accomplished the common goal of witnessing the Inaugural Ceremony of President Barack Obama.
Attending the Inaugural Ceremony of President Barack Obama was a magnifying and fulfilling experience for me. From whatever perspective one chooses to analyze this event, two commonalities will exist; it was freezing and an extraordinary experience. I truly believe that change is needed in our economy. In fact, I truly believe that change is happening- as I witnessed at the ceremony. More importantly, I feel that women are doing an amazing job and can look forward to more empowerment in the economy because of the powerful influences that both The First Lady-Michelle Obama and Secretary of Defense-Hilary Clinton can have on the world, particularly with the youth of today.
This historical event has truly convinced me that any and everything is possible. As a mother and an educator, I truly feel confident in telling my son and my students that they can accomplish anything that they set their hearts and mind to tackle. Alongside this conviction, I hope that all women would look at these women as symbols of strength and hope for the present and future. More importantly, I would hope that these two women stand as a constant reminder for all, that women are capable of performing any task when necessary.