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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Editorial: A day to remember forever

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On Tuesday, America saw what makes America special. The passage of power from one leader to another and from one party to another, peacefully and without bloodshed, is the great thing that our Founding Fathers intended.

The inauguration of a new president – from a different party than his predecessor – is nothing new. But Tuesday’s inauguration felt special, for so many reasons. Special because the hope and optimism from Obama’s election is still so evident in today’s America. Special because America now officially has its first African-American President. And special because it marked a final end to the last eight years, and eight years that Americans soundly repudiated a little more than two months ago.

The excitement of Tuesday’s inauguration was evident in the cheering and crying faces of the millions of Americans that did whatever they could to attend the event, and who climbed over fence and monument to get a better view of Obama’s swearing-in.

People who somehow managed to get a ticket for the inauguration sacrificed crowded, claustrophobic conditions on the Washington subway, hours (in some cases, more than 13!) without food or drink to stand in 20 degree weather to get their best view on a jumbotron; but despite that, many have said that it was worth the costs to be a part of such an historic event, and to be with others like them who were there to celebrate.

Those who attended the event in person, though, missed some of the more striking, lasting images from the day. To watch former President Bush and his family board their last helicopter out of Washington as Obama and Biden waved was one of the more powerful images that young, college-aged people can remember. That image represented the end of an era – the end of the past eight years that saw so many people the age of Carleton students becoming cynical of the political system, and cynical of America. Watching the helicopter lift up and fly out of Washington, leaving the new regime on the steps of the Capital building, was the epitome of the change that so many people have been waiting for.

Without a doubt, Tuesday will be a day that Americans will remember for years, and it will be a day that people will look back on years from now. It will be a day that all of us – whether we were in Washington in person, watching on TV from home, or at work – were part of. It was history, and America was lucky to be a part of it.

Of course, how Obama performs during the next four – or eight – years will dictate how well Tuesday will be remembered. Obama issued a sobering reminder in his speech that the tasks ahead will not be easy, and that America needs to come together and unite to get through this difficult period. Americans have been waiting for two months for Obama to finally begin, and now he gets his chance.

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