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The Voice of the Black Community


Reflective inauguration mood
Obama supporters offer their support in D.C.
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 2:57 pm
by Kimberly Harrington, For The Charlotte Post

WASHINGTON – The lines were shorter; no Negro spirituals filled the air; and the weather, gratefully, was not sub-freezing as was the first inauguration of President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave to the crowd during the inaugural procession Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C.

But the energy, excitement and sheer awe of witnessing the second inauguration of America’s first black president was as momentous as before.

For a couple from Somalia, this occasion was extra special. Just last week, the United States decided to help Somalia, which has been in civil war for 22 years, said Hassan Omar, a Somali who now lives in Columbus, Ohio.

“I am excited about Obama. We voted for Obama,” he said while awaiting the inauguration. “(The U.S. government) recognized the Somali government and promised to provide assistance to the Somali people. So I am excited. Excited!”

Sahia Abbi Ahmed watched the 2009 inauguration in Somalia. She has been in the United States for 11 months and said, “I had to be here.” 

About that time, the crowd erupted into thunderous applause. “The president is there, is there, you see!” she said pointing to the Jumbotron that showed Obama approaching the inauguration platform.

For some, it was a spiritual moment. At the first glance of the car carrying the leader of the Free World approaching the U.S. Capitol, there was shouting and jubilation. Then the band that had been playing patriotic music, ceased, as if on cue.

And for a few seconds, there was silence. As if it were a moment of reverence, a pause to give thanks, a minute to simply seize the moment.

One woman remarked that she may never see this again. When asked by a younger person standing next to her what she meant. She said, “I may never see another black president in my lifetime.”

Even Obama himself took a second to inhale the experience. As he exited the ceremonial platform, he turned around to view the mass of supporters who helped get him elected. 

“I want to take a look one more time,” he told those surrounding him. “I’m not going to see this again.”

Obama’s inauguraion and the celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday serendipitously coincided: King’s ideals realized through the reality of President Obama’s election.

The estimated crowd of nearly 1 million people was reflective of the melting pot of America. People of all colors, races, cultures and sexual preferences were there to celebrate with a president who embraces their differences, as evident in the people on program and in the parade.

Richard Blanco, an openly gay Cuban-American poet, read the poem “One Today,” during the ceremony while a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender band was featured in the parade.

“Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution,” Obama said in his inaugural speech. “We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names.

“What makes us exceptional, what makes us America is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”


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