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Tanks Beaten Into Tractors/The Obama Inauguration

Posted by Maureen Tuesday, January 20, 2009 Labels: , ,


Today Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States, and the first African-American president in its history, as you know. I watched the inauguration on a treadmill at KU's fitness center, and found myself crying and cheering and closing my eyes in prayer while surrounded by the masses of 19 year olds reading their entertainment magazines (Okay, that's harsh--some of them were also watching). My favorite moments from the inauguration were the following:

The musical performance by Itzhak Perlman, (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet), who performed a selection written by composer John Williams especially for the occasion, called "Air and Simple Gifts".

Listen to (watch the video) the performance here.

President Barack Obama's quote: "To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.

And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it."

Read the full speech here.

Reverend Lowery's (who prayed the benediction) prayer: Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Read the full benediction here.

I also loved that President Obama chose to use the Bible that President Abraham Lincoln took the oath by--it hasn't been used by a President since Lincoln. All in all, it was a beautiful moment in history, even with all the typical pomp and circumstance.

And now, as we have longed for change and anticipated these days ahead, may we press onward without ceasing. For those of us who pray, may we pray; for those of us who seek hope, may we find it; for those of us who have the ability to give, to go, to act in some way, may we do so. May we be truly led by our leaders, yet may we not look to them with our soul's hope, but to the One who has given life to them, to us, and to everyone within and without our borders.

5 comments:

Rachel said...

Beautiful post, roomie.

And there were plenty of others crying with you, elsewhere.

andy g said...

well said - I watched it in its entirety and found your recap equally moving. thanks.

Amber said...

amen. well said my friend.

soddly enough, i too watch from a tredmill...clapping and crying! haha. i ran out of time because the child watch only keeps the boys for 1.5 hours soo we raced home just in time for the speech so i totally missed the music you linked...so thanks for the link!

andy g said...

sigh...the high emotions didn't last long for me. I was very disappointed to see that one of Obama's first executive orders was to end the ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions.

It is even a piss poor economic decision.

Maureen said...

Fair enough, andy, but it's important to understand all the layers underneath that--the situations in the developing world where abortions are most common are dire. I'm not going to go into it here, but it's not black and white. What's more, Obama has always openly supported pro-choice stances, so he did exactly what he said he was going to do from day 1. You can't argue with that. Plus he did a lot of other stuff that is definitely good, like freezing the white house staff's salaries and dealing with Guantanamo. All to say, I'm still riding the Obama high for now. :)