The inauguration of Barack Obama as our nation’s 44th president marks a truly historic occasion.  While the election of our first African American president hardly solves our many racial problems, there is something remarkably hopeful about this new presidency.

Listening to interviews of people who were there at the March on Washington in 1963 and braved the crowds for today’s inauguration, watching jubilant celebrations from around the nation and, indeed, the world, trying to explain to our daughter (and grasp, ourselves) the significance of today’s events… time will tell, but it feels like the ground has shifted underneath our feet.

I found myself wishing I could have been there today — not because of any political or partisan reasons, but because it is so rare for history to pass us by so closely.  As President Obama said during his acceptance speech on November 5, 2008:

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

While some of the pundits might have been disappointed at the lack of immediate sound bites from today’s inauguration address, I was moved by the humble, grounded tone of the President’s speech.  I found this brief passage towards the end to be particularly moving:

…there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

Watch President Obama’s inauguration and address below:

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