Four years ago I sat in a hotel room and watched history in the making!
I was miles from the place it was happening - and nearly a day ahead of the goings-on - but I was inspired and moved to see Barack Obama stand before his nation, and the world, and witness him take his oath of office as the 44th President of the United States of America.
Yes, he is the first African American to be President of that great nation. But more importantly, having read several of his books as he progressed towards the presidency, I was impressed by his thinking and motivation, his determination and his Audacity of Hope - the title of one of his books!
I sat on a bed and watched his first inauguration and was rather overwhelmed by the moment. The raw emotion might also have had something to do with the fact that I was half asleep, actually a little exhausted. I watched the goings-on in Washington DC from a hotel room in Christchurch, New Zealand, as I came to the end of a fantastic month’s holiday which had also taken me to Australia!
I had set my alarm to be sure I was awake to watch the goings-on in Washington DC – Christchurch is 18 hours ahead of DC so it all kicked off around 5am! Truth be told, though, I actually was awake most of the night, determined not to miss the historic event. Much coffee was drunk that night!
I was enthralled! I was encouraged! Of course, I’m aware that some of his policies have caused division in the USA and I’m also obviously looking on as an observer, so far be it for me to make comment further. But reflecting on President Obama’s first inaugural address, I am still inspired by his motives to create a fairer society:
‘We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.’
(President Barack Obama 1st Inaugural Address Jan 20 2009)
Today, as President Obama is sworn in for a second term and makes his second Inaugural Address, I’ll be watching again. But not this time from a hot New Zealand in the beautiful Hotel Grand Chancellor, sadly no longer with us since that hotel was one of the victims of the devastating February 2011 earthquake. It was a real treat for me to be there in five star luxury as I ended my Down Under Sojourn - happy memories! Today I’ll be in a snowy UK. Watching via the magic that is TV from the comfort of my own lounge. Just 5 hours difference!
I’ll be listening intently to the President’s words, looking once again for inspiration, and wishing him God’s blessings!