On Tuesday, I witnessed something that I cannot recall in my 48 years of life on this Earth. I saw the image of a nation united. There upon the screens of modern television, I saw people coming together, from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, standing side by side in the cold of a January winter, to see history as never seen before. Abraham Lincoln's vision of a truly equal nation, where all are free, has been realized 146 years later.
During my lifetime, I have viewed on television many distressing times in our beloved country. While I do not fully recall the death of JFK, I do recall the loss of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. As a little boy, I recall watching the Hill District burn out the back window of my home on Troy Hill. I remember watching the riots on television. I remember the conflict brought on by the presidential candidacy of George Wallace during a time of racial strife. I recall the beating of Rodney King. And I'll never forget the losses of Apollo 7, Challenger and Columbia. Finally, I recall the catastrophic losses from 9/11, Katrina and the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars. All of these events burned into my memory a time of difficulty among this great nation.
But Tuesday, I saw glory in America. People united in a mass I have never seen before. If a country can come together like this in the hope of a new future, then let's bind ourselves together to help each other form that "more perfect union." We should all take serious review of President Obama's inaugural message and work together. His words fit the day:
"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."
If on this day, 1 million-plus people can come to experience a change in history, then let us as a nation come together in the same fashion to help President Obama form a better nation for all.